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US Targets Hezbollah Operatives and Financiers in South America and Lebanon with New Sanctions

Money LaunderingUS Targets Hezbollah Operatives and Financiers in South America and Lebanon with New Sanctions

On September 6, 2023, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action in coordination with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to designate key individuals and entities associated with Hezbollah in South America and Lebanon. This action is part of the U.S. government’s ongoing efforts to target Hezbollah operatives and financiers worldwide, regardless of their location.

Key individuals and entities designated in this action include:

Amer Mohamed Akil Rada: Amer is a senior Hezbollah operative who played a significant role in the 1994 terrorist attack against the Asociacion Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) in Argentina, which resulted in the deaths of 85 people. He has been involved in various commercial enterprises, including charcoal exports from Colombia to Lebanon, with a significant portion of the proceeds benefiting Hezbollah.

Samer Akil Rada and BCI Technologies C.A.: Samer, Amer’s brother, is linked to crimes related to illicit drug trafficking and money laundering in Latin American countries. He is the General Manager and CEO of Venezuela-based BCI Technologies C.A.

Mahdy Akil Helbawi and Zanga S.A.S.: Mahdy Akil Helbawi, Amer’s son, conducts business activities in Colombia, likely to evade detection and circumvent sanctions. He established Zanga S.A.S., a Colombia-based charcoal company.

Black Diamond SARL and Ali Ismail Ajrouch: Zanga S.A.S. received transfers from Lebanon-based company Black Diamond SARL, with Ali Ismail Ajrouch as the owner.

These designations are made under Executive Order 13224, which targets terrorists, terrorist organizations, leaders, officials of terrorist groups, and those providing support to terrorism or acts of terrorism.

The sanctions implications of this action include the blocking of all property and interests in property of the designated individuals and entities, both in the United States and in the possession or control of U.S. persons. Transactions involving these blocked persons are generally prohibited. Additionally, engaging in certain transactions with these individuals and entities may expose other parties to secondary sanctions.

OFAC emphasizes that its sanctions aim not only to punish but to induce a positive change in behavior. Individuals and entities seeking removal from OFAC sanctions lists can refer to OFAC’s process for seeking removal, with the ultimate goal of encouraging compliance with relevant sanctions.

 

By FCCT Editorial Team

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are independent views solely of the author(s) expressed in their private capacity.

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