The United States has blacklisted seven Lebanese people connected to Hezbollah.
According to the press release of the United States Treasury Department, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated seven individuals in connection with Hezbollah and its financial firm, Al-Qard al-Hassan (AQAH).
As a result of the action, all property and interests in property of individuals named, and of any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by them, individually, or with other blocked persons, that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC.
Unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC or otherwise exempt, OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or within the United States (including transactions transiting the United States) that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons.
According to the press release, AQAH, which was designated by OFAC in 2007, is used by Hezbollah as a cover to manage the terrorist group’s financial activities and gain access to the international financial system.
Ibrahim Ali Daher (Daher) serves as the Chief of Hezbollah’s Central Finance Unit, which oversees Hizballah’s overall budget and spending, including the group’s funding of its terrorist operations and killing of the group’s opponents.
The other six individuals used the cover of personal accounts at certain Lebanese banks, including U.S.-designated Jammal Trust Bank (JTB), to evade sanctions targeting AQAH and transfer approximately half a billion U.S. dollars on behalf of AQAH.
“From the highest levels of Hezbollah’s financial apparatus to working level individuals, Hezbollah continues to abuse the Lebanese financial sector and drain Lebanon’s financial resources at an already dire time,” said Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control Andrea Gacki.
“Such actions demonstrate Hezbollah’s disregard for financial stability, transparency, or accountability in Lebanon.”
While AQAH purports to serve the Lebanese people, in practice it illicitly moves funds through shell accounts and facilitators, exposing Lebanese financial institutions to possible sanctions.
AQAH masquerades as a non-governmental organization (NGO) under the cover of a Ministry of Interior-granted NGO license, providing services characteristic of a bank in support of Hezbollah while evading proper licensing and regulatory supervision.
By hoarding hard currency that is desperately needed by the Lebanese economy, AQAH allows Hezbollah to build its own support base and compromise the stability of the Lebanese state.
AQAH has taken on a more prominent role in Hezbollah’s financial infrastructure over the years, and designated Hezbollah -linked entities and individuals have evaded sanctions and maintained bank accounts by re-registering them in the names of senior AQAH officials, including under the names of certain individuals being designated today.