US sanctions Lebanese affiliates of Hezbollah foundation that pays suicide bombers' families

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says Washington is committed to exposing the militia's funding schemes

Feb 26, 2020

February 26, 2020

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The US Treasury Department ramped up pressure on the Iranian-backed militant group Hezbollah on Wednesday, sanctioning 15 Lebanese entities and individuals linked to the group’s Martyrs Foundation.

The sanctions were announced simultaneously by the Treasury and the State Department, targeting twelve Lebanon-based entities affiliated with the Iran-based Martyrs Foundation, which is accused of funnelling money to the families of the group's suicide bombers.

They are:

  • Atlas Holding
  • Medical Equipment and Drugs International Corporation (MEDIC)
  • Shahed Pharm
  • Amana Fuel Co.
  • Amana Plus
  • Al Kawthar
  • Amana Sanitary and Paints Company LTD,
  • City Pharma SARL.
  • Global Touristic Services SAL.
  • Sanovera Pharm Company SARL
  • Mirath
  • Capital SAL

Most of the entities are seen as arms of Atlas Holding which “controls at least ten companies in numerous sectors in Lebanon, including fuel, pharmaceuticals, tourism, and clothing,” the Treasury said.

The US also blacklisted three Lebanese individuals affiliated with these companies that it said support the Martyrs Foundation. They are:

  • Kassem Mohamad Ali Bazzi, identified as a leader or official of Atlas Holding;
  • Jawad Nur Al Din, identified as a leader or official of the Martyrs Foundation
  • Sheikh Yusuf Aasi, identified as a leader or official of the Martyrs Foundation

In the statement, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said “Hezbollah profits from the sale of goods vital to the Lebanese peoples’ health and economy, such as pharmaceuticals and gasoline.”

He added that the administration stands with the Lebanese people, and is “committed to exposing and holding accountable” Hezbollah’s funding scheme.

According to the US Treasury, Atlas Holding “banked freely at [now liquidated] Jammal Trust Bank despite their open affiliation with previously designated Hezbollah entities”.

It said the bank facilitated hundreds of millions of dollars in transactions through the Lebanese financial system on behalf of Atlas Holding and its subsidiaries, and aided Hezbollah officials in evading scrutiny on these accounts from Lebanese banking authorities.

Sources familiar with the decision said the new sanctions bundle was expected after targeting JTB last August, but was delayed due to the anti-government protests in Lebanon.

Updated: February 26, 2020 07:56 PM

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