Middle East/North Africa

US sanctions ‘international’ Hezbollah financing network

The Biden administration on Friday issued sanctions targeting an international financial network benefiting Hezbollah, the Lebanese-based political and military group designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S.

The sanctions target three individuals and 10 companies that the administration says took part in actions to evade primary sanctions on Hezbollah to raise funds for the terrorist group through the international financial system. 

“These financial facilitators have helped Hizballah obtain funds through networks of companies that disguise themselves as legitimate businesses,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement. “The sanctions evasion efforts of those designated today are a stark example of how Hizballah abuses the international financial system to fund its acts of terrorism and illicit activities.” 

The sanctioned individuals include Lebanon-based members of Hezbollah, including Adnan Ayad, who is said to operate an international network of companies; his son Jihad Adnan Ayad, a Hezbollah member who is also associated with his father’s businesses.

Treasury also sanctioned Ali Adel Diab, the son of sanctioned Hezbollah member Adel Diab and Director and Partner of the Zambia-based company, Hamer and Nail Construction, which the U.S. also sanctioned as having provided material or financial support for sanctioned individuals.  

The other companies sanctioned include eight companies that are based in Lebanon, one in Germany, and an additional company in Zambia.  

“Today’s action exposes and targets Hizballah’s misuse of the international financial system to raise and launder funds for its destabilizing activities as the Lebanese people suffer during an unprecedented economic crisis in Lebanon,” Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said in a statement.

“Treasury is committed to disrupting Hizballah’s illicit activity and attempts to evade sanctions through business networks while the group doubles down on corrupt patronage networks in Lebanon.”

The sanctions issued on Friday build on similar measures announced earlier this week, when the Treasury Department announced sanctions against three Lebanese businessman and a Lebanese tourism company for financially supporting Hezbollah. 

The U.S. designated Hezbollah a foreign terrorist organization in 1997 and a Specially Designated Global Terrorist Organization in 2001.

Despite designation as a foreign terrorist organization, the Lebanese-based group, and which is supported by Iran, plays an outsize role in Lebanon’s government and military. 

Tags Antony Blinken Hezbollah Iran Lebanon U.S. sanctions United States

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