Hezbollah financier arrested in Brazil

Brazilian police arrest man designated by the US Treasury Department as a high-ranking Hezbollah financier.

Elad Benari, Canada,

Hezbollah members
Hezbollah members

Brazilian police on Friday arrested a man designated by the US Treasury Department as a high-ranking Hezbollah financier after neighboring Paraguay sought his detention on identity theft charges, Reuters reported, citing authorities in Brazil.

Assad Ahmad Barakat was designated by the US in 2004 as one of Hezbollah's "most prominent and influential members."

Barakat had long served as a treasurer for the group and was an associate of the then-financial director of the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terrorist group.

Brazilian federal police said in a Friday written statement quoted by Reuters that the country's Supreme Court authorized his arrest after Paraguayan authorities issued a warrant late in August.

Barakat was previously imprisoned in Paraguay from 2002 to 2008 on charges of tax evasion. After his release, Brazilian police said, Barakat lived in Brazil, and carried out business activities in Paraguay, Argentina, and Chile.

In July, Argentina froze the assets of Barakat’s group, dubbed “the Barakat Clan”.

Earlier this year, the US and Argentina agreed to work together to cut off Hezbollah funding networks and money laundering financing terrorism across Latin America.

Washington has in the past imposed sanctions on Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and two other members of the organization, for their alleged role in aiding the Syrian government in its crackdown on opposition forces.

In May, the US imposed sanctions on Hezbollah's financier, Mohammad Ibrahim Bazzi, and its representative to Iran, Abdallah Safi Al-Din.

Last year, Washington offered multimillion-dollar rewards for two Hezbollah officials as the Trump administration developed its strategy for countering Iran’s growing regional influence.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)