Two Lebanese Plead Guilty to Money Laundering Charges Involving over $2 Million

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EFCC NigeriaThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned two Lebanese, Talal Hammoud and Hassan Rmaiti, before Justice Okechukwu Okeke of a Federal High Court in Lagos, for attempting to transport the total sum of $2,073,160 from Nigeria to Lebanon.

The two were accused of attempting to smuggle out the money from the country through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, without the knowledge of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) as required by the law. The offences, according to the anti-graft agency, were perpetrated by the two accused between the November 7 and 23, 2012. However, in separate charges, Hammoud was arraigned on a one-count charge of attempting to transport the sum of $101, 240.00 from Nigeria to Lebanon illegally.

On his own part, the second accused, Rmaiti, a travel agent, who has his office at the airport, was arraigned on a two-count charge of aiding unknown persons to transport the sum of $1,971,920.00 from Nigeria to Lebanon. The offences were said to have contravened Section 12 of the Foreign Éxchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous Provision) Act Cap. F34 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria and Section 2(3) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 and punishable under Section 2(5) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition Act) 2011.

The two accused pleaded guilty to the counts when the charges were read out to them, and they were later convicted as charged. In his judgment, Justice Okeke ordered that the convicts should forfeit 25 percent of the total undisclosed amount ($2,083, 160.00). He also directed the EFCC to release the balance of the amount to the convicts within 24 hours.

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