US sanctions Australian businessman as an al-Qaeda financier

The US said he 'materially assisted, sponsored or provided financial or material support' to al-Qaeda

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wears a face mask before meeting with Romania's Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu at the State Department in Washington, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. (Yuri Gripas/Pool via AP)
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The United States sanctioned an Australian national and his gemstone company on Monday, designating him as a clandestine terrorist financier.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement that Ahmed Luqman Talib  “materially assisted, sponsored or provided financial or material support” to al-Qaeda. The US Treasury Department also targeted Mr Talib’s gemstone company, Talib and Sons.

“Talib has had financial dealings in a number of countries, and his business dealing in gemstones has provided him the ability to move funds internationally,” said Mr Pompeo.

The Treasury Department said that Mr Talib’s business dealings extended to the Gulf as well as Turkey, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Colombia and Brazil.

“Terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda use financial facilitators to move money around the world to help carry out terrorist activity,” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in a statement.

“The Treasury Department remains committed to disrupting Al Qaeda’s financial activities and networks around the world and appreciates the collaboration with our Australian partners.”

Separately on Monday, Mr Pompeo announced penalties on six entities and two individuals based in China and Hong Kong for evading US sanctions on Iran.

The sanctions extend to several Chinese companies for doing business with the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) and its Shanghai-based subsidiary. Eric Chen and Daniel Y. He, the respective CEO and president of the Shanghai-based Reach Holding Group company, have also been sanctioned.

“The international community has long recognised that the Iranian regime uses [IRISL] to transport proliferation-sensitive items intended for Iran’s ballistic missile and military programmes,” Mr Pompeo said in a statement.

“Today we reiterate a warning to stakeholders worldwide: If you do business with IRISL, you risk US sanctions.”