The United States has sanctioned seven Lebanese nationals it says are linked to the Iran-backed Hezbollah group, and its financial arm, Al-Qard al-Hassan (AQAH).
In a Treasury Department press release Tuesday, the seven were listed as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT).
“From the highest levels of Hezbollah’s financial apparatus to working level individuals,” Hezbollah “continues to abuse the Lebanese financial sector and drain Lebanon’s financial resources at an already dire time,” said Andrea Gacki, the director of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. She said such actions demonstrate Hezbollah’s “disregard for financial stability, transparency, or accountability in Lebanon.”
One of those sanctioned is Ibrahim Ali Daher, who “serves as the Chief of Hezbollah’s Central Finance Unit, which oversees Hezbollah’s overall budget and spending, including the group’s funding of its terrorist operations and killing of the group’s opponents,” Treasury said.
Ahmad Mohamad Yazbeck, Abbas Hassan Gharib, Wahid Mahmud Subayti, Mostafa Habib Harb, Ezzat Youssef Akar and Hasan Chehadeh Othman were also blacklisted.
“The AQAH officials designated today have all participated in evasive “shadow” banking activity. Yazbeck, Gharib, Harb, Akar, and Othman maintain joint bank accounts in Lebanese banks that have allowed them to transfer more than $500 million within the formal financial system over the past decade, despite existing sanctions against AQAH.” Treasury said.
According to the Reuters news agency, there was no immediate comment from Hezbollah.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted that the move was part of “our continuing efforts to expose and restrict” Hezbollah’s activities. In a separate statement, the top U.S. diplomat said the threat that Hezbollah “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.”
Those sanctioned will be blocked from all property and interests in property “that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50% or more by them, individually or with other blocked persons, that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons,” the statement said.
Hezbollah was named as an SDGT on October 31, 2001, and AQAH was designated as an SDGT on July 24, 2007.