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Cotonou Car-Market Used For Money-Laundering And Drug-Trafficking: US Govt - Politics - Nairaland

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Cotonou Car-Market Used For Money-Laundering And Drug-Trafficking: US Govt by Nobody: 8:00am On Apr 24, 2013
U.S. Govt Links Cotonou Car Importers To Drug Trafficking, Money Laundering Networks…Moves To Block Access To Used American Cars

[img]http://ireports-ng.com/wp-content/themes/goodnews47/framework/scripts/timthumb.php?src=http://ireports-ng.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Cotonou-cars.jpeg&h=275&w=599&zc=1[/img]

The huge market of second hand or used cars, popularly called ‘Tokunbo’ usually brought into Nigeria from the United States through Cotonou in Benin republic may have suffered a fatal blow following findings by the American authorities that the vehicles are proceeds of drug trafficking and money laundering by some criminal networks operating in Lebanon and Africa.

The report of the investigations by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, DEA named two Lebanese exchange houses, Kassem Rmeiti & Co. For Exchange (Rmeiti Exchange) and Halawi Exchange Co. (Halawi Exchange), as conduits through which hundreds of millions of dollars are moved in cash into the U.S to buy cars which are then shipped to Cotonou where most ‘Tokunbo’ cars on Nigerian roads are brought into the country. The implication of the U.S action is that the syndicate will no longer have access to buy American used cars for shipment to Cotonou and this will largely affect the prices of used cars sold in Nigeria.

“Halawi Exchange facilitates transactions for a network of individuals and companies which launder money through the purchase and sale of used cars in the United States for export to West Africa. In support of this network, management, ownership, and key employees of Halawi Exchange coordinate transactions – processed within and outside of Halawi Exchange – on behalf of Benin-based money launderers and their associates. For example, in early 2012, Halawi Exchange, including its management, ownership, and key employees were involved in arranging multiple wire transfers totaling over $4 million on behalf of one such money laundering network. As of mid-2012, central figures in this scheme planned to move $224 million worth of vehicle shipping contracts through this same network via a Halawi-owned Benin-based car lot, which receives vehicle shipments from the United States.

“As of late 2012, Benin-based money launderers continued to use Halawi Exchange to wire transfer money to U.S. car suppliers in support of their money laundering operations. The proceeds of car sales were hand-transported in the form of bulk cash U.S. dollars from Cotonou, Benin to Beirut, Lebanon via air travel and deposited directly into one of the Halawi Exchange offices, which allowed bulk cash deposits to be made without requiring documentation of where the money originated. Halawi Exchange, through its network of established international exchange houses, initiated wire transfers from its bank accounts to the United States without using the Lebanese banking system in order to avoid scrutiny associated with Treasury’s designations of Hassan Ayash Exchange, Elissa Exchange, and its Lebanese Canadian Bank Section 311 Action. Money was then wire transferred via Halawi’s banking relationships indirectly to the United States through countries that included China, Singapore, and the UAE, which were perceived to receive less scrutiny by the U.S. Government”, a statement from the DEA today explained. The full text of the DEA release reads:

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Re: Cotonou Car-Market Used For Money-Laundering And Drug-Trafficking: US Govt by Nobody: 8:01am On Apr 24, 2013
“The U.S. Department of the Treasury today named two Lebanese exchange houses, Kassem Rmeiti & Co. For Exchange (Rmeiti Exchange) and Halawi Exchange Co. (Halawi Exchange), as foreign financial institutions of primary money laundering concern under Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act (Section 311) – the first time the Department has used Section 311 against a non-bank financial institution. Today’s action reflects the Treasury Department’s continuing commitment to target illicit financial networks that launder millions of dollars in funds for narcotics traffickers and that, in the process, provide substantial financial benefits to the terrorist organization Hizballah. This action will protect the U.S. financial system from these activities and expose entities supporting the network of designated drug kingpin Ayman Joumaa.

“Following Treasury’s action against the Lebanese Canadian Bank, the Joumaa narcotics network turned to Rmeiti Exchange and Halawi Exchange to handle its money laundering needs,” said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen. “As our actions against the Lebanese Canadian Bank, Joumaa and the two exchange houses today make clear, the Treasury Department, working with our partners across the Federal government, will aggressively expose and disrupt sophisticated multi-national money laundering organizations that handle drug proceeds for criminal enterprises including the terrorist group Hizballah.”

“Drugs and terrorism co-exist across the globe in a marriage of mutual convenience,” said DEA Special Operations Division Special Agent in-Charge Derek Maltz. “As State-sponsored terrorism has declined, these dangerous organizations have looked far and wide for sources of revenue to recruit, corrupt, train, and strengthen their regime. Many drug trafficking groups have stepped in to fill that revenue void, as have the financial facilitators such as Halawi and Rmeity.”

The Treasury Department’s 311 action against Lebanese Canadian Bank in February 2011, as well as designations in January 2011 of Ayman Joumaa and two exchange houses, Hassan Ayash Exchange and Elissa Exchange, exposed the Joumaa network’s money laundering scheme and forced these financial institutions out of the U.S. and international financial systems.

Rmeiti Exchange and Halawi Exchange subsequently picked up the network’s money laundering work, including the trade-based money laundering schemes involving used car dealerships in the United States and consumer goods from Asia. Rmeiti Exchange and Halawi Exchange used their foreign money transmitter businesses to process millions of dollars on behalf of narcotics traffickers and money launderers, and attempted to obfuscate the source of illicit funds by comingling or splitting transactions across a variety of businesses, financial institutions, and continents, including in the United States.

http://ireports-ng.com/2013/04/23/u-s-govt-links-cotonou-car-importers-to-drug-trafficking-money-laundering-networks-moves-to-block-access-to-used-american-cars/

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Re: Cotonou Car-Market Used For Money-Laundering And Drug-Trafficking: US Govt by Adex097: 9:15am On Apr 24, 2013
I don't patronize tokunbo sellers!!
Wait o,, I'm the FTC!!!
*dancing azonto*
Re: Cotonou Car-Market Used For Money-Laundering And Drug-Trafficking: US Govt by Excel23: 9:17am On Apr 24, 2013
Atleast no nigerian agency was mentioned
Re: Cotonou Car-Market Used For Money-Laundering And Drug-Trafficking: US Govt by chadef: 9:20am On Apr 24, 2013
this U.S.A government, always suspecting everything that comes to their land, even the one that brings in money to their government. buying of cars from them, does it not make their economy boom.

1 Like

Re: Cotonou Car-Market Used For Money-Laundering And Drug-Trafficking: US Govt by XFive: 9:21am On Apr 24, 2013
Thank GOD they did not mention our name
Re: Cotonou Car-Market Used For Money-Laundering And Drug-Trafficking: US Govt by tellwisdom: 9:22am On Apr 24, 2013
Msheww undecided..Thanks eguerilla
Re: Cotonou Car-Market Used For Money-Laundering And Drug-Trafficking: US Govt by MarcoP: 9:25am On Apr 24, 2013
They have come again!
This America govt ant its abracadabra.

They want to kill the Cotonou car market, and indirectly make things difficult for Nigerians who are the biggest beneficiaries of the business.
Its a calculated attempt to frustrate Nigerians.

Americans are also guilty of money laundry and drug trafficking. They should tell the world what they are looking for in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc.

Hypocrites!

12 Likes

Re: Cotonou Car-Market Used For Money-Laundering And Drug-Trafficking: US Govt by ajasbaba(m): 9:26am On Apr 24, 2013
THAT WS A NICE MOVE BY THE AMERICANS,BEFORE NKO NO BE OUR STOLEN MONEY THEY DE CARRY BUY THE CARS.

MAKE THEM EVEN BAN CAR SALES FOR WEST AFRICA SELF.
PLS GIVE ME ONE BOTLLE OF CHILLED ALOMO BITTER
Re: Cotonou Car-Market Used For Money-Laundering And Drug-Trafficking: US Govt by bodescous: 9:33am On Apr 24, 2013
Alomo in d morning?Smmmmshh.
Re: Cotonou Car-Market Used For Money-Laundering And Drug-Trafficking: US Govt by bodescous: 9:34am On Apr 24, 2013
ajas baba: THAT WS A NICE MOVE BY THE AMERICANS,BEFORE NKO NO BE OUR STOLEN MONEY THEY DE CARRY BUY THE CARS.

MAKE THEM EVEN BAN CAR SALES FOR WEST AFRICA SELF.
PLS GIVE ME ONE BOTLLE OF CHILLED ALOMO BITTER

Alomo in d morning?Smmmmshh for you.

2 Likes

Re: Cotonou Car-Market Used For Money-Laundering And Drug-Trafficking: US Govt by gilgal7(f): 9:36am On Apr 24, 2013
americans sucks....tink they owns d world....always wantin tings run thier evil ways....

1 Like

Re: Cotonou Car-Market Used For Money-Laundering And Drug-Trafficking: US Govt by Blackteeth(m): 9:37am On Apr 24, 2013
When America says something Nigerians will believe it and take it seriuos. But when Nigerians say something, Nigerians will not believe it. Is America in the position to tell what is going on in our country where we live and watch things ourselves?
Re: Cotonou Car-Market Used For Money-Laundering And Drug-Trafficking: US Govt by JideTheBlogger(m): 9:42am On Apr 24, 2013
Chai! This people want spoil business oo..
Re: Cotonou Car-Market Used For Money-Laundering And Drug-Trafficking: US Govt by donchisel: 9:45am On Apr 24, 2013
[b][/b]
Marco-P :
They have come again!
This America govt ant its abracadabra.

They want to kill the Cotonou car market, and indirectly make things difficult for Nigerians who are the biggest beneficiaries of the business.
Its a calculated attempt to frustrate Nigerians.

Americans are also guilty of money laundry and drug trafficking. They should tell the world what they are looking for in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc.

Hypocrites!
Marco-P :
They have come again!
This America govt ant its abracadabra.












Story!!! Forget it bro. They cannot. where will they throw the old cars to.

They want to kill the Cotonou car market, and indirectly make things difficult for Nigerians who are the biggest beneficiaries of the business.
Its a calculated attempt to frustrate Nigerians.

Americans are also guilty of money laundry and drug trafficking. They should tell the world what they are looking for in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc.

Hypocrites!
Marco-P :
They have come again!
This America govt ant its abracadabra.

They want to kill the Cotonou car market, and indirectly make things difficult for Nigerians who are the biggest beneficiaries of the business.
Its a calculated attempt to frustrate Nigerians.

Americans are also guilty of money laundry and drug trafficking. They should tell the world what they are looking for in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc.

Hypocrites!
Re: Cotonou Car-Market Used For Money-Laundering And Drug-Trafficking: US Govt by Nobody: 9:45am On Apr 24, 2013
Na for people wey like secondhand car nah. Me I no wetin I hustle before I save moni buy my Honda.on a second thought, if people should stop buying Tokunbo cars,how would they(Americans)get rid of thier used cars knowing fully well that Africa is their dumping ground. Make dem park oneside joor. If you visit LA so many junkies abound there more than you would see in the whole of Nigeria. Na who never travel before dem go use dis dia jaga jaga drug mata dey ginger. Africa dis africa dat ! We go run enta fire for dem?? I don vex, infact thunder fire america yes na me talk am

4 Likes

Re: Cotonou Car-Market Used For Money-Laundering And Drug-Trafficking: US Govt by Gooogle(m): 9:48am On Apr 24, 2013
gilgal7: americans sucks....tink they owns d world....always wantin tings run thier evil ways....

omo cool down, make them no deny you Visa oo.lol

You need to go there and relax and stop hating.there aint evils
ways anywhere.Nolet poverty they make you vex this early morning.

grin grin grin grin
Re: Cotonou Car-Market Used For Money-Laundering And Drug-Trafficking: US Govt by cupid4ig(m): 9:51am On Apr 24, 2013
Adex097: I don't patronize tokunbo sellers!!
Wait o,, I'm the FTC!!!
*dancing azonto*
that is if u actually own a car cos u sound like a kid otherwise a matured person wont be shouting 1st to comment and dancing azonto.

2 Likes

Re: Cotonou Car-Market Used For Money-Laundering And Drug-Trafficking: US Govt by amme1(m): 9:56am On Apr 24, 2013
Dnt mind the americans, they have been working on opening shop in cotonou and nigeria this year, so they want to break Lebanese monopoly in cotonou auto market.

1 Like

Re: Cotonou Car-Market Used For Money-Laundering And Drug-Trafficking: US Govt by Nobody: 9:58am On Apr 24, 2013
cupid4ig: that is if u actually own a car cos u sound like a kid otherwise a matured person wont be shouting 1st to comment and dancing azonto.

....my thoughts exactly grin

1 Like

Re: Cotonou Car-Market Used For Money-Laundering And Drug-Trafficking: US Govt by ebucha: 10:02am On Apr 24, 2013
A move to thwart benin's growing economy. Rubbish people
Re: Cotonou Car-Market Used For Money-Laundering And Drug-Trafficking: US Govt by Napoleonumolo: 10:10am On Apr 24, 2013
America no know b4 say all dis car runs de hapen 4 their country before.they just wan show theirselves,afterall na american people na dem de sellam 4 People wey de import am inside cortonou.
Re: Cotonou Car-Market Used For Money-Laundering And Drug-Trafficking: US Govt by ebucha: 10:11am On Apr 24, 2013
We are not kids. America's economy is going down while asians(Lebanese and Chinese) are smiling to the bank. This is a ploy to thwart Asias economy.

2 Likes

Re: Cotonou Car-Market Used For Money-Laundering And Drug-Trafficking: US Govt by emmanuel4758(m): 10:11am On Apr 24, 2013
chiover: Na for people wey like secondhand car nah. Me I no wetin I hustle before I save moni buy my Honda.on a second thought, if people should stop buying Tokunbo cars,how would they(Americans)get rid of thier used cars knowing fully well that Africa is their dumping ground. Make dem park oneside joor. If you visit LA so many junkies abound there more than you would see in the whole of Nigeria. Na who never travel before dem go use dis dia jaga jaga drug mata dey ginger. Africa dis africa dat ! We go run enta fire for dem?? I don vex, infact thunder fire america yes na me talk am
thunder fire obama and his broda osama and his cousin bokos and d entire fuckin gay supporter nation infact obama go luk bush

2 Likes

Re: Cotonou Car-Market Used For Money-Laundering And Drug-Trafficking: US Govt by phapi(m): 10:19am On Apr 24, 2013
When will america bee ANTI - NIGERIA? If there is one blck nation USA is scared of it NIGERIA!!!
They wnnt to see dat our Nigeria suffer set bck jst because our policy dnt allow dem dump used item on our soil
So now all dem wnnt is to tarnish d image of d contoonou auto market cus dy knw it benefiting NiGeria

GOD SAVE US from d wicked World power
Re: Cotonou Car-Market Used For Money-Laundering And Drug-Trafficking: US Govt by boron10(m): 10:28am On Apr 24, 2013
Marco-P :
They have come again!
This America govt ant its abracadabra.

They want to kill the Cotonou car market, and indirectly make things difficult for Nigerians who are the biggest beneficiaries of the business.
Its a calculated attempt to frustrate Nigerians.

Americans are also guilty of money laundry and drug trafficking. They should tell the world what they are looking for in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc.

Hypocrites!
You dey wash am?
Re: Cotonou Car-Market Used For Money-Laundering And Drug-Trafficking: US Govt by Boss13: 10:48am On Apr 24, 2013
phapi: When will america bee ANTI - NIGERIA? If there is one blck nation USA is scared of it NIGERIA!!!

I understand our President is not very knowledgeable in Foreign Policy. The USA has seen that Nigeria is committed to building its economy. To the USA, that is a huge threat. They dont want another China in their life. I believe this is our opportunity, now that the western world is currently experiencing a recession. Well if only our leaders truly understand.
Re: Cotonou Car-Market Used For Money-Laundering And Drug-Trafficking: US Govt by Evestar200(f): 11:33am On Apr 24, 2013
Mtcheeeew! They fit say if dem stop am we nor go drive cars again? Abeg make dem go sponsor all dis ABA pple make dem make fine cars 4 us so dat we go 4get american nd their yeye cars
Re: Cotonou Car-Market Used For Money-Laundering And Drug-Trafficking: US Govt by ibehkc(m): 11:41am On Apr 24, 2013
D stupid tin about dis ppl is wen dey say smtin, it must come to pass. Guys, we gats gather money go all road sides and mechanics go park dead cars and all nonsense send em back with tag "thanks for ur charity, we dnt need em again and no fight pls take back what u gave us, we no want again" make we give em sometin back too. Dem just dey dey form big brother and we dey receive dats y dey ve d gots to decide wen to give us and wen to cut off.

1 Like

Re: Cotonou Car-Market Used For Money-Laundering And Drug-Trafficking: US Govt by greaterlove(m): 11:58am On Apr 24, 2013
i have always said it on this forum that America is getting scared of the rise of Nigeria, they cant stand the rise of other nations, its not just Nigeria, its all over from China to Turkey, to Mexico there neighbor.

1 Like

Re: Cotonou Car-Market Used For Money-Laundering And Drug-Trafficking: US Govt by Nobody: 12:08pm On Apr 24, 2013
Thanks to the Mod who not only unblocked my post but also liberated my handle from the tyranny of Pyguru.

It is good to see that most of those who have responded so far recognise an element of protectionism on the part of US government agencies here. This, for me, is in stark contrast to some of the views expressed on a different discussion thread I started last week, which concerned the 600,000 .com Nigerian websites registered with US-based companies.

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