US hits Hezbollah financiers with second round of sanctions

Treasury Department's latest sanctions on the Iran-backed party in Lebanon include Zambia-based companies

Adnan Ayad and Adel Diab have been accused of helping fund Hezbollah's operations through 10 companies. AP

The US Treasury Department announced another set of sanctions on Hezbollah financiers this week, designating on Friday a funding network based in Zambia and Lebanon.

Adnan Ayad and Adel Diab have been accused of helping fund Hezbollah's operations through 10 companies reportedly in their network and financing “corrupt patronage” in Lebanon as a way of navigating the country's economic crisis.

“Today’s action exposes and targets Hezbollah’s misuse of the international financial system to raise and launder funds for its destabilising activities as the Lebanese people suffer during an unprecedented economic crisis,” said Brian Nelson, under secretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence.

Mr Ayad and Mr Diab have been accused of “having materially assisted, sponsored or provided financial, material or technological support for, or goods or services” to Hezbollah. Their sons, Jihad Ayad and Ali Diab, were also designated.

Two of the companies named in the sanctions, Hamer and Nail Construction Limited and Hamidco Investment Limited, are based in Zambia and have been reportedly used to funnel financial and technological support to Mr Ayad.

The rest of the companies are based in Lebanon and include engineering, construction, fashion and industrial entities that are part of Mr Ayad and Mr Diab’s Hezbollah-supporting network.

Friday’s sanctions come only three days after the US designated three Hezbollah financiers that included Mr Diab and a travel company.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the actions are “in solidarity with the Lebanese people, whose security and sovereignty remains threatened by Hezbollah's corrupt and destabilising activities".

“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,” Mr Blinken said on Tuesday.

He accused the militant group of being “more concerned with advancing their own interests and those of their patron, Iran, than the best interests of the Lebanese people".

Updated: January 21, 2022, 5:32 PM
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