The United States is offering up to $10 million to anyone who can provide "information leading to the disruption of financial activities that support the global terrorist organization Lebanese Hezbollah," Assistant Secretary of Diplomatic Security Michael Evanoff announced Monday.
The State Department's initiative is called "Rewards for Justice" and seeks to curtail Hezbollah's terror activities in the Middle East by targeting the group's finances.
Evanoff pointed out Hezbollah's key source of income – Iran.
"The Lebanese-based terrorist organization, which the State Department designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in October 1997, receives weapons, training, funding from Iran. The Secretary of State designated Iran as a State Sponsor of Terrorism in 1984," Evanoff said during a press conference about the program.
"In previous years, Hezbollah has generated about $1 billion annually through direct financial support from Iran, international businesses and investments, donor networks, and money-laundering activities. The group uses these funds to support its malign activities throughout the world, which includes the development of militia to Syria in the support of Assad dictatorship; and to Yemen in support of the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels; surveillance and intelligence-gathering operations in the American homeland; and enhanced military capabilities, including its claim to possess precision-guided missiles," he added.
The US intends to stem Hezbollah's continuous flow of money through the reward offer, along with sanctions and other tools.
The State Department urges anyone with information on Hezbollah's financial networks to contact the Rewards for Justice Program through its website, rewardsforjustice.net or via email at [email protected].
Individuals outside the United States may also contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. All information submitted will be kept strictly confidential.
The State Department also highlighted three key individuals as Hezbollah financiers or leaders, including Adham Tabaja, Mohammad Ibrahim Bazzi and Ali Youssef Charara.
"We will pay for bank records, customs forms, real estate transactions, and anything evidencing money laundering or cash smuggling," Evanoff said. "The United States government is prepared to pay for this information, and we will award up to $10 million for leads that result in financial disruption. Whether by US law enforcement sanctions or other enforcement actions."
This is not the first time the US has offered money in exchange for information on terrorists.
The United States Government has paid more than $150 million to over a hundred people who have provided critical information that resulted in the imprisonment of terrorists or prevents them from participating in acts of international terrorism.
"I'm confident that the (reward) that we are offering today, will provide incentives for people to come forward with information that will help us take down Hezbollah's financial networks," said Evanoff.