Reports indicate that Hamas, having expended a large number of its missile inventory through attacks upon Israel, is seeking to replenish its stocks through a major purchase from North Korea, are a cause for concern, due to probable Lebanese involvement. Front companies located in Lebanon, which have a relationship with both Hamas and North Korea, are said to be the purchasing agents.
Should any Beirut financial institutions be implicated, the regulatory consequences for the Lebanese banking industry could be severe; it is still tainted from the Lebanese-Canadian bank scandal, and any additional problems, involving the provision of material support to designated terrorist organizations, would result in not only probable US sanctions, but a major escalation in Country Risk for a country whose financial services industry is a major part of the Middle East financial structure.
Compliance officers at international banks with important correspondent relationships in Lebanon should be alert for any suspicious transactions that seek, in circuitous ways, to send funds to Asia. Bw aware, especially, with respect to those countries that still have tenuous financial links to North Korea.
Personally, I would keep a sharp eye out for this individual: SAMI ABU ZUHRI , Hamas' press spokesman, who is currently operating out of Lebanon. Zuhri is a known bulk cash smuggler, who was once detained, at the border, with a money belt containing just under one million Euros on his person.
|Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas press spokesman and bulk cash smuggler