Canada is looking into Hezbollah’s involvement in money laundering operations. A recent report by Al-Arabiya cites a senior member of the RCMP, the Canadian federal and national police, discussing the use of casinos in Vancouver, as well as drug smuggling, to launder money.
“The Canadian federal government has designated a committee to investigate money laundering operations that take place through gambling in Vancouver casinos and drug smuggling, in which a network affiliated with the Iranian regime and Hezbollah militias are involved,” wrote the Dubai-based news channel.
Hezbollah’s involvement in money laundering using Canadian casinos was revealed by a former Senior Ops Officer for Transnational Organized Crime within the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Calvin Chrustie.
Chrustie was involved in a recent investigation into these operations.
Speaking to Al-Arabiya, Chrustie said, “We have seen their (Iran‘s and Hezbollah’s) continuing affinity with the Chinese networks that are active in illegal business in Canada.”
“If we look at the calls that we monitored and the recordings, we will see that some of the calls came from a person officially known to have close ties to Hezbollah, which is linked to Iran and one of its proxies. And we will see gangs of Chinese origins and their networks receiving security from Iranian networks,” he added.
In 2019, the Canadian news network Global News outlined how the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) had worked to uncover Hezbollah’s Canadian money laundering operations more than 10 years ago.
The DEA reportedly had “dirty calls” with compromising evidence of drug shipments and cash movements to Canada. However, when they gave the evidence to the RCMP, the latter “didn’t want to pursue the cases,” explaining Canada’s delay in taking action.
According to a DEA affidavit, Hezbollah not only benefits from billions of dollars for its military operations but also uses drug smuggling for “damaging or weakening their enemies both in the form of drug addiction and in terms of the societal and economic costs associated with combating trafficking and addiction.”
The former Canadian Immigration Minister Chris Alexander assured Al-Arabiya that the Canadian authorities are trying to address these “complicated” matters, calling the investigation into Iran and its networks “dangerous and complex”.