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U.S. Hits Hezbollah-Linked Firms, Individuals with Sanctions

The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on several individuals and entities that Washington said are involved in schemes to help the Iranian-sponsored terrorist organization, Hezbollah, evade U.S. sanctions.

Two individuals – a Lebanese man and a Belgian national – and three entities, including one based in Britain and two based in Belgium, were designated by the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

Treasury targeted Lebanon-based Hassan Tabaja, who it said had acted on behalf of his brother Adham Tabaja, a Hezbollah financier. In addition, OFAC sanctioned Belgian national Wael Bazzi and his companies for representing his father Mohammad Bazzi, also a Hezbollah financier.

“By targeting Hassan Tabaja and Wael Bazzi and their European-based companies, this administration is continuing to disrupt all avenues of financial support relied upon by Hezbollah,” said Sigal Mandelker, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.

OFAC designated the men and their companies under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism. Additionally, they are subject to secondary sanctions pursuant to the Hezbollah Financial Sanctions Regulations, which implements the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act of 2015.

“Treasury is relentlessly pursuing Hezbollah’s financial facilitators by dismantling two of Hezbollah’s most important financial networks,” Mandelker noted. “As Hezbollah 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.”

Hezbollah in its entirety is designated a terrorist group by the United States, Britain, Canada, Israel, and the Arab League. The EU currently only bans the group’s military wing. The U.S. Department of State earlier this week offered a reward of up to $10 million for information that could help disrupt Hezbollah’s financing network.

[Photo: FRANCE 24 English / YouTube]