Indian accountant accused of helping fund Hezbollah consents to US extradition newsbhunt



LONDON: Sundar Nagarajan, the Indian citizen accused of helping to fund Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah, has out of the blue consented to his extradition to the US.
Nagarajan (66), who was born in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, and now a retired accountant living in the UK since 2016, is accused by the US of being involved in a vast money laundering and sanctions evasion network which facilitated the payment, shipment, and delivery of cash, diamonds, art, and luxury goods for the benefit of Nazem Ahmad, alleged to launder money through his companies for Hezbollah.
Ahmad, a dual Belgium-Lebanese citizen, was designated as a specially designated global terrorist by the US on December 13, 2019for providing material support for Hezbollah and sanctioned and prohibited from engaging in transactions with US citizens. Despite that, Ahmad and his co-conspirators allegedly relied on a complex web of business entities to obtain valuable artwork from US artists and art galleries and to secure US-based diamond-grading services, all while hiding Ahmad’s involvement in, and benefit from, these activities.
Nagarajan was arrested at his Hayes home on April 18 by armed police acting on an international arrest warrant at the request of the US. The same day Nagarajan was designated by the US treasury department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) for “having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of” Ahmad.
The US district court for the eastern district of New York has charged Ahmad and eight co-defendants, including Nagarajan, with conspiring to defraud the US and foreign governments, evade US sanctions and customs laws, and conduct money laundering transactions by securing goods and services for the benefit of Ahmad.
An official at Westminster Magistrates Court in London, where Nagarajan has been appearing to contest his extradition, told TOI: “A person can consent to extradition at any time. We received communication from his lawyer that he wished to consent to his extradition and so onOctober 6, 2023 Nagarajan was produced before the court where he consented to his extradition. He was produced again on November 8 to re-consent as there was a difference in the spelling of his name with how the home office had recorded it. He is still in custody awaiting the home secretary to confirm, and once that is done his removal can be arranged to the US to stand trial.”Nagarajan’s extradition hearing, which had been scheduled for January 2024, has been vacated.
The US treasury department claimed Nagarajan acted as Ahmad’s “primary international accountant”, providing material support through his management of, and accounting for, businesses in Ahmad’s network. It said Nagarajan “was the central manager of financial ledgers detailing the network’s operations in Hong Kong, the UAE, and South Africa” and that he facilitated payment for and shipment of art that Ahmad purchased from major auction houses and galleries.
According to OFAC, Ahmad provided funds personally to Hezbollah secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah. At his first hearing, on April 25, Nagarajan’s barrister George Hepburne Scott told the court that Nagarajan was Hindu and would never support Islamic terrorism.





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