The Treasury Building in Washington, D.C. (AP Photo/JACQUELYN MARTIN)
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Lebanese executives based overseas are facing increasingly stringent scrutiny over international bank transfers as Washington adds more rules to tighten the noose on the finances of Hezbollah.One of the continents to pop up on banks' and regulators' radar screens is Africa, which is home of thousands Lebanese expatriates and businessmen who conduct business with banks back home.Washington suspects that some of the money sent to Hezbollah comes from some Lebanese Shiite businessmen and investors in Africa.A Lebanese businessman based in Liberia and Sierra Leone told The Daily Star that the scrutiny on the transfer of funds from Africa to Lebanon is nothing new.Only those who are suspected of illegal activity are being investigated and they usually [have] a very hard time transferring money to Lebanon," the businessman told the paper on condition of anonymity.He admitted that some Lebanese businessmen are deeply involved in illegal financial operations in Africa such as money laundering. U.S. correspondent banks only become suspicious if the amount of transfer is very significant and if the volume of business of the sender is far less than the amount wired to Lebanon, bankers explain.The businessman said he knows many Lebanese Shiite investors whose financial transactions were frozen or rejected.
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