Politics

DOJ: Ex-Obama Cabinet Member Received a Secret Loan from Suspected Hezbollah-Linked Source

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A billionaire suspected of having links to Hezbollah gave $50,000 to a former Obama administration Cabinet member, according to the Department of Justice.

A DOJ news release Wednesday said Ray LaHood, who served as transportation secretary from 2009 to 2013, accepted $50,000 from an associate of Gilbert Chagoury, a Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire.

In 2017, Chagoury was denied entry into the U.S. on terrorism-related grounds because he was suspected of funneling money to Hezbollah, according to the Los Angeles Times.

At the time, the billionaire was in the news over contributions of between $1 million and $5 million that he made to the Clinton Foundation.

The Justice Department said Chagoury, 75, paid $1.8 million to resolve allegations that he and others donated $180,000 to various political candidates, violating the federal ban on candidates accepting foreign donations.

Although Chagoury, who lives in Paris, paid the fine in December 2019, the Justice Department announced the disposition of the case Wednesday.

Two Chagoury associates — Joseph Arsan, 68, also of Paris, and Toufic Joseph Baaklini, 58, of Washington, D.C. — also paid fines to resolve outstanding charges against them.

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