BEIRUT: The U.S. Treasury Department has designated two Lebanese money exchange firms as a ‘primary money laundering concern’ alleging the groups may be laundering millions of dollars of narcotics profits and funneling the money to Hezbollah, according to a press release issued Tuesday.

The Treasury Department claims that Lebanese narcotics kingpin Ayman Joumaa operating in South America moved the proceeds of his drug trade through Kassem Rmeiti & Co. For Exchange and Halawi Exchange Co. companies in Lebanon after the U.S. government added the Lebanese Canadian bank to a blacklist for its operations with Hezbollah.

The two trading companies were designated under section 311 of the U.S. Patriot Act that allows for identifying foreign companies that may be laundering money and supporting terrorism.Hezbollah is considered a terrorist organization by the United States.The Lebanese Canadian bank was targeted by the U.S. two years ago for its operations. Joumaa and other alleged Lebanese drug kingpins were named for possibly funding Hezbollah last year.

“As our actions against the Lebanese Canadian Bank, Joumaa and the two exchange houses today make clear, the Treasury Department, working with our partners across the Federal government, will aggressively expose and disrupt sophisticated multi-national money laundering organizations that handle drug proceeds for criminal enterprises including the terrorist group Hizballah,” the press release said.