US sanctions three Hezbollah financiers in Lebanon

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says group is more concerned with its own and Iran's best interests than those of the Lebanese people

Hezbollah members stand at attention during during a ceremony in Beirut, Lebanon. AP

President Joe Biden's administration on Tuesday sanctioned three people who have directly funded Hezbollah, a group that has been designated as a terrorist organisation by Washington.

The US Treasury Department announced sanctions against Ali Mohamad Daoun, Adel Diab and Jihad Salem Alame as well as their travel agency, Dar Al Salam for Travel and Tourism.

“With this action, Treasury is disrupting businessmen who raise and launder funds for Hezbollah’s destabilising activities while the Lebanese people face worsening economic and humanitarian crises,” said Brian Nelson, the department's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

“Hezbollah claims it supports the Lebanese people, but just like other corrupt actors in Lebanon that Treasury has designated, Hezbollah continues to profit from insulated business ventures and backdoor political deals, amassing wealth that the Lebanese people never see.”

Mr Daoun, who is in charge of Hezbollah’s second district, owns the travel agency and founded the business with fellow Hezbollah members Mr Diab and Mr Alame.

"As the Lebanese people suffer an economic crisis of historic proportions, Hezbollah continues to engage in illicit activity and amass wealth at the expense of the Lebanese people. It is clear Hezbollah and its associates are more concerned with advancing their own interests and those of their patron, Iran, than the best interests of the Lebanese people," Secretary of State Antony Blinken added in a statement

The Treasury Department issued a similar tranche of sanctions against Hezbollah financiers based in Lebanon and Kuwait in September.

Shortly thereafter, the US and Qatar jointly sanctioned seven other Hezbollah financiers based in the Gulf.

Updated: January 18, 2022, 8:01 PM