Treasury targets Hezbollah financiers under sanctions

Treasury targets Hezbollah financiers under sanctions
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The Treasury Department on Wednesday targeted two individuals and three European companies under sanctions meant to dismantle Hezbollah’s international financial network.

Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which enforces financial sanctions, targeted Wael Bazzi of Belgium and Hassan Tabaja for operating companies and conducting business transactions on behalf of two top Hezbollah financiers.

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OFAC also designated three companies — two in Belgium and one in the United Kingdom — for serving as fronts for Hezbollah business activities.

The designations are the Trump administration's latest attempts to disrupt funding for Hezbollah, a Lebanon political party and militant group aligned backed by the Iranian government.

Sigal Mandelker, Treasury under secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said in a statement that the department “is relentlessly pursuing Hizballah’s financial facilitators by dismantling two of Hizballah’s most important financial networks,” using the the government’s preferred spelling for the militant group.

“As Hizballah continues to attempt to obscure its activities by using seemingly legitimate businesses, we will continue to take action against the front persons who hide the movement of money, including the relatives of designated terrorists,” she continued.

OFAC targeted Bazzi for allegedly acting on behalf of his father, Mohammad Bazzi, who was designated as top Hezbollah financier in 2018.

The department also targeted three companies operated by Bazzi that are allegedly used to fund Hezbollah’s activities: Belgium-based petroleum company Voltra Transcor Energy BVBA and consulting company OFFISCOOP NV, along with UK-based computer firm BSQRD Limited.

Tabaja was designated for allegedly acting on behalf of his brother Adham Tabaja, who was also targeted under sanctions, for pursuing business transactions with Mohamad Noureddine, a Hezbollah-linked money launderer.