U.S. Sanctions 3 Individuals, Several Firms Allegedly Linked to Hizbullah
The U.S. Department of the Treasury on Friday slapped sanctions against three individuals and several firms allegedly linked to Hizbullah.
In a statement, the Treasury identified the individuals as Nazem Said Ahmad, Saleh Assi and Tony Saab.
It described Ahmed and Assi as “two prominent Lebanon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)-based money launderers,” adding that they have affiliated companies some of which have “generated tens of millions of dollars for Hizbullah, its financiers, and their malign activities.”
“Hizbullah continues to use seemingly legitimate businesses as front companies to raise and launder funds in countries like the DRC where it can use bribery and political connections to secure unfair market access and evade taxes,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “This Administration will continue to take action against Hizbullah financiers like Nazem Said Ahmad and Saleh Assi, who have used money laundering and tax evasion schemes to fund terrorist plots and finance their own lavish lifestyles as the Lebanese people suffer,” Mnuchin added.
“Art and luxury goods dealers should be on alert to the schemes of money launderers who hide personal funds in high-value assets in an attempt to mitigate the effects of U.S. sanctions,” said Deputy Secretary Justin G. Muzinich.
Describing Nazem Said Ahmad as one of Hizbullah’s “top donors,” the statement said the man possesses “an extensive art collection worth tens of millions of dollars, including works by Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol, many of which have been on display in his gallery and penthouse in Beirut.”
He generates funds through his “longstanding ties to the ‘blood diamond’ trade,” the statement added, noting that Saleh Assi has “laundered money through Ahmad’s diamond businesses.”
The U.S. Treasury also slapped sanctions on Lebanon-based accountant Tony Saab, saying he “provided support to Assi.”
“Saab has materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of Assi,” the statement said.
“As an employee of Assi’s company Inter Aliment, Saab was involved in facilitating the transfer of millions of dollars for Inter Aliment and Minocongo and provided documentation of such transfers to Assi. Saab was also involved in facilitating Assi’s payments to (alleged Hizbullah financier Adham Hussein) Tabaja,” the statement added.