Designation of South American Network for Supporting Hizballah

Designation of South American Network for Supporting Hizballah

The United States has targeted key Hizballah operatives and financiers operating a network in South America and Lebanon that helps fund Hizballah’s terrorist activities in South America.

From the very beginning, Hizballah, which is based in Lebanon, has established an extensive global infrastructure and commercial interests that allow Hizballah operatives to travel and operate freely, and transfer materials and funds.

The United States Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, designated, pursuant to Executive Order 13224, as amended, seven key individuals and entities operating in this network. OFAC is working on this case with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration.

Amer Mohamed Akil Rada is a longtime member of Hizballah. He lives in Lebanon but spent over a decade in South America working on behalf of Hizballah. As much as 80 percent of the proceeds of his commercial enterprises goes toward Hizballah operations. In addition, in 1994, he was involved in the bombing of the community center for the largest Jewish community in South America, killing 85 people and wounding hundreds more.

Like his brother Amer, Samer Akil Rada is a member of Hizballah. He has been actively linked to crimes related to illicit drug trafficking and money laundering in various countries in Latin America. Samer is the General Manager and CEO of Venezuela-based BCI Technologies C.A., which is also being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for being owned, controlled, or directed by, directly or indirectly, Samer.

Amer’s son Mahdy Akil Helbawi conducts, on Amer’s behalf, business activities in Colombia. He is Chief Operating Officer of Zanga S.A.S., which has been the main supplier of companies controlled by individuals in this network, including Amer. Zanga S.A.S has been sanctioned for being owned, controlled, or directed by Helbawi.

Lebanon-based company Black Diamond SARL received about $40,000 worth of transfers from Zanga S.A.S. It is being sanctioned for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided support or goods or services for Zanga S.A.S. Ali Ismail Ajrouch is being designated for owning or controlling Black Diamond SARL.

“Today’s action underscores the U.S. government’s commitment to pursuing Hizballah operatives and financiers no matter their location,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “We will continue to root out those who seek to abuse the U.S. and international financial system to fund and engage in terrorism.”

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