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An ICIJ Investigation

Shadow Diplomats

The untold story of how hundreds of rogue honorary consuls, including alleged terror financiers and criminals, have undermined a little-known system of global diplomacy.

  • The investigation identified at least 500 current and former honorary consuls who have been accused of crimes or embroiled in controversy. Some consuls were accused or convicted of serious offenses, including drug and weapons trafficking, murder and fraud.
  • Nine honorary consuls identified by ProPublica and ICIJ have been linked to terrorist groups by law enforcement and governments. Most were tied to Hezbollah, a political party, social services provider and militant group in Lebanon.
  • Some consuls abused their positions to enrich themselves, evade law enforcement or advance political agendas. Consuls have stood accused of hiding cash and contraband in their offices and pouches.
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