Indian Man Extradited To US From UK In Hezbollah Terror Financing Case

The Indian national, identified as Sundar Nagarajan, 65, was extradited to the United States on December 8. He was born in Madurai, Tamil Nadu.

Fighters from the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah stand next to multiple rocket launchers during a training exercise in Aaramta village in the Jezzine District, southern Lebanon.

The British authorities on Tuesday said that an Indian man accused of facilitating financing of Lebanon-based Hezbollah has been extradited to the United States to face the trial as part of a joint US-UK action. 

The man has been identified as Sundar Nagarajan, 65. He was born in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. He is an accountant by profession and is accused of being linked to the financing of Hezbollah, an Islamist group designated as a terrorist organisation by the United Kingdom and United States. 

Nagarajan has also been accused of being associated with art collector and diamond dealer Nazem Ahmad, who has been sanctioned by the United States for funding terrorist activities of Hezbollah. 

Nagarajan has also been known by the names of Nagarajan Sundar Poongulam Kasiviswanathan Naga and Sundar Poongulam K Nagarajan Nagarajan. 

Nagarajan was first arrested in April. The UK’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) told Westminster Magistrates Court in London at the time that Nagarajan is the accountant linked to the finances of Hezballah and is a "requested person" (RP) by the US authorities for fraud and money laundering offences, according to PTI.

The CPS this week told the court that Nagarajan was extradited to the United States on December 8. 

Nagarajan had initially challenged his extradition on human rights and dual criminality grounds and an extradition trial was due to begin in London in January 2024, according to PTI. The agency added that it is not clear what led to him later consenting to his extradition to face the charges in a US court.

Nagarajan's arrest followed action by the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command earlier this year to arrest a 50-year-old man in Wales on suspicion of funding terrorism, reported PTI. 

"The ongoing investigation and arrest by the NTFIU [National Terrorist Financing Investigation Unit] relates to suspected terrorist financing and money laundering, which is believed to be connected to wealthy art collector and diamond dealer, Nazem Ahmad," said the police at the time.

Hezbollah is a Iran-backed group that is based in Lebanon. It has struck US and Israeli targets over the years and has fought wars with Israel.

"Like Iran, Hezbollah considers the United States and Israel to be its chief enemies, which has led to a global terrorist campaign against the two nations. Until September 11, 2001, Hezbollah was responsible for killing more Americans than any other terrorist organization...The group’s manifesto describes the U.S. as the root of abomination and declares that its “determination to fight the U.S. is solid," says think tank Counter Extremism Project (CEP).