If you ever had any doubts about the numerous reports regarding Hezbollah's illegal activities in West Africa, catch this: among the dead on board Air Algerie AH-5017, the MD-83 passenger jet that crashed in Mali, during a flight from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso to Algiers, was a Lebanese national who is a senior Hezbollah official.
(1) Extorting "donations" from Muslims in West Africa ?
(2) Riding the organization's illegal cocaine pipeline, which exists through Colombia-Venezuela-Brazil-West Africa, and on into Europe ?
(3) Laundering Hezbollah criminal profits ?
(4) Participating in one of Hezbollah's numerous illicit enterprises, e.g. cigarette smuggling, automobile shipments, and any number of criminal ventures ?
(4) Supervising all of the above ?
The fact that a Hezbollah agent was on board apparently surfaced during the identification of the deceased. One wonders just how many others are operating in the region. African financial institutions, generally deemed to be low risk, should now be regarded as potential facilitators of terrorist financing, if they are in countries in Sub-Saharan Africa that have substantial Muslim population. Also curious is the destination: Algiers. I offer this story as food for thought for compliance officers whose bank clients have business in the region.
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