Pompeo: Hizbullah Exploits Corrupt System Just Like Other Parties
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo charged Thursday that Hizbullah “exploits Lebanon’s corrupt system just like other parties,” as the U.S. Treasury slapped sanctions on two Lebanon-based firms and a man described as a Hizbullah official.
“Lebanon’s political leaders have long exploited the lack of transparency in Lebanon’s economy to conceal their self-enrichment, while pretending they are defending the rights of their people. Despite its claims to the contrary, the terrorist group Hizbullah is every bit as involved in this deception as other actors,” Pompeo added in a statement.
“This scheme involving political leaders directing contracts to political allies while enriching themselves is exactly the type of corruption against which the Lebanese people are protesting,” he said.
Pompeo added: “The Lebanese people have been demonstrating against corruption for nearly a year and demanding that their government address their basic needs after decades of political dysfunction. The Lebanese people deserve better, and the United States will continue to support their calls for an end to corruption and more responsive governance.”
In his statement, the top U.S. diplomat noted that “Arch Consulting and Meamar Construction are two of many companies subordinate to Hizbullah’s Executive Council.”
Hizbullah has used these companies to “conceal its economic activity and evade U.S. sanctions,” he charged.
“Hizbullah collaborated with former Lebanese Minister Youssef Fenianos to ensure that Arch and Meamar won Lebanese government contracts worth millions of dollars, and the companies sent a portion of those funds to Hizbullah’s Executive Council,” Pompeo said.
He noted that Arch Consulting was previously part of and continues to “provide funds to Jihad al-Bina, a prominent Hizbullah construction company designated by the United States in 2007.”
“Sultan Khalifa As’ad oversees Arch, Meamar, and other Hizbullah companies in his position on Hizbullah’s Executive Council, where he helps manage the terrorist group’s municipal affairs. As’ad coordinates directly with Hashim Safi al-Din, head of Hizbullah’s Executive Council, to guide the activities of Arch, Meamar, and other Hizbullah companies,” Pompeo explained.