BEIRUT: A Lebanese judge Friday charged 18 suspects of belonging to Daesh (ISIS) and forming a network to transfer money from Lebanon abroad at the behest of the militant group.
Military Prosecutor Judge Saqr Saqr referred the 18, including 15 Syrians and a Palestinian, to Military Investigative Judge Riad Abu Ghaida for questioning and to issue arrest warrants against them.
A judicial source told The Daily Star that the network had transferred some $19.3 million to Daesh in Syria and Iraq since 2014.
It added that the suspects had rented money exchange shops with their licenses from the Lebanese owners in return for a hefty sum of cash.
The source added that every transaction varied between $10,000 and $100,000.
"A money exchange shop in Beirut transfers the money to a similar shop in Turkey and Iraq, where the recipient pays around $80,000 to receive the exchange and takes the rest as commissions."
The source said that most of the funds were sent to Daesh stronghold in Iraq, Mosul, and in Syria's Raqqa.
"The large sum of the money sent to the group in [Syria's] Qalamoun were transferred by bags and handed to their officials on the outskirts of the [northeaster] border town of Arsal.
However, investigations haven't proved that any Lebanese was linked to the transfers, the source added.
He said that "Lebanese money exchangers hold preliminary responsibility for renting their shops and licenses to the Syrians.
Six Lebanese nationals were released earlier this month in light of a recent clampdown on money exchange shops to curb the suspected financing of terror organizations.
The decision to conduct the raids was made by Military Court Judge Dani Zaani.
Those detained were released on the condition that they would not leave the country. They also gave General Security their permanent addresses and phone numbers.