Friday, March 18, 2005

Vienna man arrested for unlicensed money transfer business

Vienna resident Louay Habbal, a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Syria, was arrested yesterday for operating an unlicensed money transfer service. Download the press release and indictment from The Department of Justice Press Room. While the indictment does not link Habbal to terrorism, it notes that he transferred over $23 million to Syria and other countries between November 2001 and July 2004.

Habbal advertised his financial services through a website, which also promotes Islamic financial services. The address for Mena Exchange is 344 Maple Avenue West, No. 241, Vienna, VA 22180.

Habbal is a former Managing Director, Middle East, with the Riggs International Private Banking Division of the embattled Riggs Bank. He is also with SHAPE Financial of Falls Church, VA, a company offering Sharia-compliant financial and real estate services.

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