Exposing the Joumaa Network

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U.S. Treasury Department names new targets of crackdown on Ayman Joumaa, whose money laundering and drug-running operations support Hezbollah, designated a terrorist group by the U.S. State Department. Here, Hezbollah soldiers with a picture of Imad Mughniyeh in 2011, when the group was believed to have threatened to assassinate Israeli diplomats in retaliation for Mughniyeh’s death in a 2008 car bombing. / REUTERS

U.S. officials announced a series of moves Wednesday aimed at stifling the flow of money through several groups accused of laundering funds for a major drug trafficking operation known as the Joumma network.

That network is in turn allegedly linked to Hezbollah, and the American government has accused it of using proceeds from cocaine trafficking in Columbia, in partnership with a Mexican cartel, to finance the Lebanese-based Hezbollah. The U.S. State Department counts Hezbollah, which is backed by Syria, as a terrorist organization.

Ayman Joumaa was indicted last year by a federal grand jury on numerous money laundering and drug trafficking charges tied to cocaine shipments from Columbia aimed at the U.S. market.

According to the Treasury Department, Joumaa’s organization allegedly “laundered proceeds from their illicit activities – as much as $200 million per month – through various channels, including bulk cash smuggling operations and Lebanese exchange houses.”

Sweep to Treasury Targets Major Money Laundering Network

One of the most prestigious public universities in the U.S. has reinstated its president after weeks of turmoil were sparked by her sudden, suspicious ouster.

Scores of faculty, students and alumni at the University of Virginia expressed outrage after the head of the school’s governing board engaged in secret, back-room dealings aimed at abruptly replacing the first-ever female president with someone considered more business-friendly. The university, as a public institution, is normally subject to the same open meeting requirements as other state agencies.

Star faculty members threatened to resign, and one, computer scientist William Wulf, actually did. The governor threatened to fire all 15 members of U-Va.’s entire board of visitors.  After two weeks, the U-Va. board voted Tuesday to bring back Teresa Sullivan as president.

As the Washington Post reports, the vote “completed a cycle of events that plunged the university into chaos, with 16 days of protests, no-confidence votes and talk of mass faculty defections.”

Sweep to U-Va. board unanimously reinstates Teresa Sullivan as president

Montreal mayor Gérald Tremblay doesn’t like being called crooked, and now he’s lashing out at the whistleblower who fingered him to a government inquiry investigating corruption in Quebec.

Tremblay is fuming over the whistleblower’s recent testimony and subsequent comments this week saying the mayor “can go to hell,” the Montreal Gazette reports.

Tremblay is demanding an apology from Jacques Duchesneau – a former city police chief who testified about wide-ranging corruption in Quebec. But Duchesneau appears to have no intention of backing down after his comments this week in the Canadian media criticizing the mayor.

In his sweeping testimony before the provincial inquiry, Duchesneau reportedly said that more than two-thirds of the money raised by Quebec’s political parties was obtained illegally.

Sweep to Tremblay will not seek legal redress

Diana Jean Schemo

Diana Jean Schemo

Diana Jean Schemo is co-founding executive editor of 100Reporters and an award-winning former foreign, national and cultural correspondent for The New York Times and the Baltimore Sun.

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