These sanctions target businesses in Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Liberia.
President Donald Trump and his administration continues to crack down on Iran, but this time it took aim at terrorist group Hezbollah, which relies on Iran. The sanctions will also try to dim Iran’s influence across the Middle East. From the Treasury Department:
“Hizballah is a terrorist organization responsible for the death of hundreds of Americans. It is also Iran’s primary proxy used to undermine legitimate Arab governments across the Middle East. The Administration is determined to expose and disrupt Hizballah’s networks, including those across the Middle East and West Africa, used to fund their illicit operations,” said Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin. “The Treasury Department will continue to sever Hizballah from the international financial system, and we will be relentless in identifying, exposing, and dismantling Hizballah’s financial support networks globally.”
The department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) named these people and businesses:
Specifically, OFAC designated Lebanon-based Jihad Muhammad Qansu, Ali Muhammad Qansu, Issam Ahmad Saad, and Nabil Mahmoud Assaf, and Iraq-based Abdul Latif Saad and Muhammad Badr-Al-Din for acting for or on behalf of Hizballah member and financier Adham Tabaja or his company, Al-Inmaa Engineering and Contracting. Additionally, OFAC designated Sierra Leone-based Blue Lagoon Group LTD and Kanso Fishing Agency Limited, Ghana-based Star Trade Ghana Limited, Liberia-based Dolphin Trading Company Limited (DTC), Sky Trade Company, and Golden Fish Liberia LTD., and Lebanon-based Golden Fish S.A.L. (Offshore) for being owned or controlled by Ali Muhammad Qansu.
The sanctions mean that “all property and interests in property of these persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.”
One official told The Washington Post that these new sanctions will deliver “a blow to the Revolutionary Guard Corps and its elite Quds Force” that “uses Lebanese Hezbollah as really its main means of projecting destabilizing power in conflict zones.” Our government estimates that the Iranian regime gives the terrorist group around $700 million a year.
The sanctions hit businesses in Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Liberia, which officials believe “sit at the nexus of Hezbollah’s cash flows.” For example, the department targeted Ali Muhammad Qansu “for acting on behalf of Adham Tabaja,” a member and financier of Hezbollah, along with other members. He owns or controls businesses based in those three African countries:
Ali Qansu wholly owns Blue Lagoon Group LTD. and Kanso Fishing Agency Limited, both of which are based in Sierra Leone. He is the managing director of Ghana-based Star Trade Ghana Limited. In this capacity, he has managed bank accounts for Star Trade Ghana, and transacted with a Ghanaian-based bank on behalf of the company. Additionally, he coordinated over a million dollars in fish sales with Sierra Leone- and Ghana-based fishing companies, including sales of Star Trade Ghana.
Ali Qansu is the chief executive officer and authorized representative of Dolphin Trading Company Limited (DTC) and Liberia-based Sky Trade Company. He is also the general director of Dolphin Trading Company Limited (DTC) and a member of its board of directors
Ali Qansu is also the majority owner of Lebanon-based Golden Fish S.A.L. (Offshore) and Liberia-based Golden Fish Liberia LTD, which is engaged in various fishing activities, poultry and pig farming, food processing, car rental and sales, hotel-related activities, import and export of various goods, and multiple other business activities.
Trump’s admin has taken a much stronger stance against Hezbollah, unlike former President Barack Obama, who bent over backwards to appease Iran and the terrorist group. In December, Professor Jacobson detailed a Politico report that showed how “the Obama White House derailed the plans to take down the Hezbollah network, and to allow Hezbollah to continue drug-running into the U.S., in order to avoid upsetting the Iran nuclear deal.” Hezbollah has remained a major player in the cocaine network into the U.S.
The professor also blogged about the DOJ’s new Hezbollah Narcoterrorism Task Force in January.DONATE
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