U.S. Treasury sanctions Lebanese firm over Hezbollah ties
Jan. 24 (UPI) — The U.S. Treasury on Tuesday imposed new sanctions on several people and financial entities it believes are supporting the terrorist organization Hezbollah.
The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control applied the sanctions to Lebanese money lender Hassan Moukalled and his business, CTEX Exchange.
Lebanon-based Hezbollah is already on the agency’s list of sanctioned entities, and the Treasury accused both Moukalled and CTEX of facilitating the terrorist group’s financial transactions.
“As corruption undermines economic growth and the ability of individuals to provide for their families, the United States is committed to holding accountable those who exploit their privileged positions for personal gain,” Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson said in a statement.
“Today, the Treasury Department is taking action against a corrupt money exchanger, whose financial engineering actively supports and enables Hezbollah and its interests at the expense of the Lebanese people and economy.”
CTEX was granted a license midway through 2021, giving it permission to transfer money within Lebanon and abroad. Within a year, “CTEX was also providing U.S. dollars to Hezbollah institutions and recruiting money changers loyal to Hezbollah,” the government said Tuesday.
The Treasury Department believes Moukalled pounced on an opportunity to exploit a Lebanese economy, already in the depths of financial ruin.
In addition to Moukalled himself and the business, his sons Rayyan Moukalled and Rani Moukalled have also been sanctioned.
Both are accused of having “materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support” of their father, enabling Hezbollah’s day-to-day activities.
Anyone doing business with Moukalled, his two sons or CTEX is subject to secondary sanctions.
Specifically, the OFAC is blocking or seizing all property and interests of property located in or controlled by the United States. Anyone under U.S. jurisdictions is prohibited from doing business with the sanctioned entities.
Tuesday’s news is the latest round of sanctions against Iranian-backed Hezbollah.
In December, the federal government instituted financial sanctions against Adel Mohamad Mansour, the 56-year-old head of Al-Qard al-Hassan. The Hezbollah-run financial institution the United States was itself designated in 2007