The United States is offering up to $10 million for information that would disrupt the cash flow of the Iranian-sponsored terrorist organization, Hezbollah.
In a list released on Monday, the State Department explained how to receive a reward: providing the names of Hezbollah donors, businesses or investments owned or controlled by the group, financial institutions involved in the transaction of Hezbollah funds, and criminal schemes run by the terrorist organization.
The notice comes as the White House is ramping up pressure on Iran. The United States announced on Monday that it will not extend sanctions exemptions to countries importing oil from Iran when they expire in early May.
With an annual budget of $700 million, the Islamic Republic is Hezbollah’s main benefactor. Israeli intelligence estimates that Iran has been giving its Lebanese terror proxy $1 billion annually. It is believed that due to the crippling U.S. sanctions regime, the amount was cut by more than half in 2018.
In June 2016, Hezbollah chief Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah expressed his gratitude to Iran, noting that, “Hezbollah’s budget, its income, its expenses, everything it eats and drinks, its weapons and rockets, are from the Islamic Republic of Iran.” Nasrallah boasted further, “As long as Iran has money, we have money (…) Just as we receive the rockets that we use to threaten Israel, we are receiving our money. No law will prevent us from receiving it.”
In February, Britain proscribed Hezbollah in its entirety. The blacklisting of the group could give British authorities the ability to block transactions, hampering Hezbollah’s ability to raise and transfer money. In addition to the funds provided by Iran, Hezbollah raises money through drug smuggling and money laundering.
The European Union Terrorism Situation and Trend Report 2018 said its investigations “focused on a large network of Lebanese nationals offering money laundering services to organized crime groups in the EU and using a share of the profits to finance terrorism-related activities of the Lebanese Hezbollah’s military wing.”
The report added, “The cooperation of these money-launderers and Hezbollah’s military wing was a clear example of a nexus between organized crime and terrorism.”
[Photo: MTVLebanonNews / YouTube]