The United States on Tuesday announced sanctions on seven Lebanese nationals allegedly linked to Hizbullah, which is designated as a “terrorist” organization by Washington.
“The threat that Hizballah poses to the United States, our allies, and interests in the Middle East and globally, calls for countries around the world to take steps to restrict its activities and disrupt its facilitation networks,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
He added: “We applaud the countries in Europe, and South and Central America that have taken action against Hizballah in recent years and call on other governments around the world to follow suit.”
Moreover, he said that the United States is designating seven individuals involved in “financial operations” with Hizbullah ties to “continue impeding the group’s ability to operate in the global financial system.”
Blinken added that the seven individuals have been sanctioned for “acting for or on behalf of Hizballah or Al-Qard al-Hassan (AQAH), which provides cover for Hizballah’s financial activity.”
“While AQAH purports to serve the Lebanese people, in practice it illicitly moves funds through shell accounts and facilitators, exposing Lebanese financial institutions to sanctions risk related to conducting business with a designated entity. Moreover, by hoarding cash that is desperately needed by the Lebanese economy, AQAH empowers Hizballah to build its own support base and compromise the stability of the Lebanese state,” the statement said.
One of the seven individuals designated, Ibrahim Ali Daher, serves as “the director of Hizballah’s Central Finance Unit, which oversees the group’s overall budget and spending,” Blinken added.
“The remaining individuals designated used the cover of personal accounts to evade sanctions targeting AQAH and transferred approximately $500 million on behalf of AQAH,” he said.
Noting that these designations reinforce recent U.S. action against “Hizballah financiers who have provided support or services to Hizballah,” Blinken vowed that the United States will “continue to take action to disrupt Hizballah’s operations.”
A statement issued by the U.S. Treasury meanwhile said that Hizbullah’s Central Finance Unit, allegedly led by Ibrahim Ali Daher, oversees the group’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 designated today 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,” the statement added.