U.S. Treasury Department targets PKK

Oct. 15, 2009 at 3:26 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Oct. 15 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control announced it froze the assets of three leaders of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, the PKK.

OFAC announced it designated Murat Karayilan, Ali Riza Altun and Zubayir Aydar as "significant foreign narcotics traffickers." OFAC identified the individuals as senior leaders of the PKK, also known as the Kongra-Gel.

"We will continue to aggressively track and expose the Kongra-Gel's financial network to disrupt its trafficking activities," said OFAC Director Adam Szubin.

U.S. President George W. Bush in 2008 designated the PKK under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. It was listed a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in 2001 by the U.S. State Department.

Roughly 300 individuals linked to the PKK were arrested on drug trafficking charges during the mid-1980s through the early 1990s, the U.S. Treasury Department said.

The group is active in parts of Syria, Iraq, Iran and Turkey, using drug money to fund its militant separatist movement. The Turkish government passed a recent measure to permit cross-border military raids on PKK militants in Iraq.

The U.S. assets of individuals are frozen and U.S. persons are prohibited from conducting financial or commercial transactions with them pursuant to the Kingpin Act.

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