US offers $10 million reward in hunt for Hezbollah financiers

The US government is offering a bounty of up to $10 million for information about three alleged financiers of Hezbollah, a Lebanon-based organization that the US considers to be Iran-backed terrorists.

Adham Tabaja, Ali Charara and Mohamed Bazzi were named as Hezbollah financiers on Monday by State Department and Treasury officials, who announced the bounty for “disruption of financial activities that support the global terrorist organization Lebanese Hezbollah.”

Hezbollah receives “weapons, training, funding” from Iran to the tune of $1 billion a year, Assistant Secretary of State Michael Evanoff told reporters on Monday. He claimed Hezbollah uses those funds for “malign activities” such as supporting the government in Syria, the Houthi rebels in Yemen, and “surveillance and intelligence gathering operations in the American homeland.”

“Make no mistake, the US government will use all available tools to extinguish Hezbollah’s sources of revenue,” said Assistant Secretary of Treasury Marshall Billingslea.

The US designated Iran a state sponsor of terrorism in 1984, and Hezbollah a terrorist organization in 1997. As part of the Trump administration’s ongoing campaign of sanctions and pressure on Tehran, the US also designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization earlier this month. Iran has retaliated by declaring US Central Command a terrorist organization as well.

Washington has also announced the tightening of sanctions by ending the waivers for countries that buy oil from Tehran next month, in an effort to bring Iranian oil exports “to zero.” The move caused a spike in global oil prices.

The Hezbollah bounty is being offered under the “Rewards for Justice” program, which was started in 1984 and has so far paid out more than $150 million to over 100 individuals, according to the State Department.