US Sanctions Two Iran-Backed Hezbollah Financiers In West Africa
The United States Department of the Treasury has sanctioned two key financiers of Iran-backed Hezbollah group operating in Guinea, west Africa.
On Friday, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated prominent Lebanese businessmen Ali Saade and Ibrahim Taher under Executive Order 13224 — declared by former President George W Bush in 2001 – that targets terrorists, leaders, and official of terrorist groups, and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism.
Saade – with links to designated Hezbollah supporter Kassim Tajideen — initiated money transfers from Guinea to the Iran-backed group in Lebanon. Taher has been identified as one of the most prominent financial supporters of the group in Guinea, who is believed to employ several individuals affiliated with Hezbollah within the country.
Tajideen was freed from jail in the United States in June 2020 as a result of indirect contacts between Tehran and Washington.
According to a statement by the Treasury, the new sanctions are aimed at “disrupting Hezbollah’s business network in West Africa” and exposing “businessmen who support Hezbollah’s destabilizing activities through bribes and other corrupt activity”.
The United States designated Hezbollah as a Foreign Terrorist Organization on October 8, 1997, and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) on October 31, 2001.
In January, US sanctioned three other individuals and their company with links to Hezbollah for exploiting Lebanon’s economic resources for the benefit of the militant group.