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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - WASHINGTON — The United States on Tuesday imposed sanctions on seven Lebanese nationals who have links with Hezbollah its financial firm, Al-Qard Al-Hassan (AQAH), designating them as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT).
AQAH, which was blacklisted by the US in 2007, is used by Hezbollah as a cover to manage the terrorist group’s financial activities and gain access to the international financial system, according to a statement from the US Department of Treasury.
Among those, who were blacklisted on Tuesday, is Ibrahim Ali Daher. Daher 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.
The other six individuals designated used the cover of personal accounts at certain Lebanese banks, including US-designated Jammal Trust Bank (JTB), to evade sanctions targeting AQAH and transfer approximately half a billion US dollars on behalf of AQAH.
“From the highest levels of Hizballah’s financial apparatus to working level individuals, Hizballah continues to abuse the Lebanese financial sector and drain Lebanon’s financial resources at an already dire time,” said the director of the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, Andrea Gacki.
“Such actions demonstrate Hizballah’s disregard for financial stability, transparency, or accountability in Lebanon.”
While AQAH purports to serve the Lebanese people, in practice it illicitly moves funds through shell accounts and facilitators, exposing Lebanese financial institutions to possible sanctions.
AQAH masquerades as a non-governmental organization (NGO) under the cover of a Ministry of Interior-granted NGO license, providing services characteristic of a bank in support of Hezbollah while evading proper licensing and regulatory supervision.
By hoarding hard currency that is desperately needed by the Lebanese economy, AQAH allows Hezbollah to build its own support base and compromise the stability of the Lebanese state.
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