US issues fresh sanctions on individuals linked to Hezbollah

Sanctions have been placed on a Kuwait-based network and come hours after Hezbollah smuggled an oil shipment to Lebanon

The US has sanctioned several people it said have ties to the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah, a post on the Treasury Department website said on Friday.

The Treasury Department said the sanctions are aimed members of a network of Lebanon- and Kuwait-based financial conduits that fund the militant group.

The new sanctions also took aim at an international network of financial facilitators and front companies that reportedly support Hezbollah and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force (IRGC).

“Together, these networks have laundered tens of millions of dollars through regional financial systems and conducted currency exchange operations and trades in gold and electronics for the benefit of both Hezbollah and the IRGC,” the US government said.

That revenue is used to “fund terrorist activities as well as to perpetuate instability in Lebanon and throughout the region".

The Lebanese citizens named in the sanctions include Hasib Muhammad Hadwan, also known as Hajj Zayn, who is reportedly “responsible for raising funds from donors and businessmen outside Lebanon”.

Another Lebanese citizen, Talib Husayn Ali Jarak Ismail, was also named in the sanctions for reportedly co-ordinating the transfer of millions of dollars to Hezbollah from Kuwait through Jamal Husayn Al Shatti - who was also named.

In addition, the IRGC's and Hezbollah's financial facilitators, Meghdad Amini and Ali Qasir, were sanctioned for running a “network of nearly 20 individuals and front companies, located in multiple countries and jurisdictions, that facilitates the movement and sale of tens of millions of dollars’ worth of gold, electronics and foreign currency".

Two men reportedly involved in the Amini-Qasir network, Mostafa Puriya and Hossein Asadollah, sell electronics through the company Hemera Infotech FZCO.

Another person named in the sanctions, Morteza Minaye Hashemi, who operates out of China, is accused of laundering “tens of millions of dollars for the IRGC and Hezbollah through foreign currency conversions and gold sales".

Two Chinese nationals, Yan Suxuan and Song Jing were named as accomplices of Mr Hashemi.

While the new batch of sanctions were not placed on Hezbollah itself for enabling the smuggling of Iranian fuel into Lebanon on Thursday, the announcement came hours after. The shipment violates US sanctions on Iranian fuel sales.

The first shipment of fuel arrived in Baalbeck, a stronghold for Hezbollah in Lebanon, where petrol is scarce. More shipments are expected to follow and dock in Syria before being transferred to Lebanon.

Updated: September 17th 2021, 3:32 PM
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