US Blacklists Lebanese Individuals, Entities over Hezbollah Links

Wednesday, 26 February, 2020 - 18:30
Asharq Al-Awsat

The United States on Wednesday added a host of Lebanese individuals and entities it said were linked to the Martyrs Foundation to its designated “global terrorists” lists, according to a notice on the US Treasury Department’s website.

US officials have previously targeted the Lebanon-based Martyrs Foundation, an organization the department has said channels financial support to several militant groups, including Hezbollah.

“Hezbollah profits from the sale of goods vital to the Lebanese peoples’ health and economy, such as pharmaceuticals and gasoline,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “The Trump Administration stands with the Lebanese people, and we are committed to exposing and holding accountable Hezbollah’s terror-funding business schemes.”

The US Treasury Department said in a statement that its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) had blacklisted Atlas Holding for being owned or controlled by the Martyrs Foundation, as well as senior Atlas official Kassem Mohamad Ali Bazzi, and 10 Atlas-affiliated companies.

Jawad Nur-al-Din and Sheikh Yusuf Aasi were also designated for being leaders or officials of the Martyrs Foundation, which was designated for supporting terrorism in July 2007. Mirath S.A.L., which is owned or controlled by Jawad Nur-al-Din, was also designated.

Hezbollah put the Lebanese banking sector at risk through its deep coordination with Jammal Trust Bank, which was designated as an SDGT in August 2019. Atlas Holding — a company controlled by the Martyrs Foundation and subordinate to Hezbollah’s Executive Council — along with several of its subsidiaries banked freely at Jammal Trust Bank despite their open affiliation with previously designated Hezbollah entities.

In fact, Jammal Trust Bank facilitated hundreds of millions of dollars in transactions through the Lebanese financial system on behalf of Atlas Holding and its subsidiaries, and aided Hezbollah officials in evading scrutiny on these accounts from Lebanese banking authorities, said the Treasury.

As a result, all property of those targeted that fall under US jurisdiction must be blocked and reported to OFAC, whose rules generally bar all US persons from dealing with them. Further, those blacklisted are subject to secondary sanctions under which OFAC can penalize foreign financial institutions which deal with them.

Hezbollah was designated by the Department of State as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in October 1997.

Read More ...