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U.S. sanctions financial network assisting Hezbollah

U.S. sanctions financial network assisting Hezbollah
The Treasury Department named seven individuals as specially designated global terrorists for assisting Hezbollah. File Photo by Roger L. Wollenberg/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 29 (UPI) -- The U.S. and Qatari governments on Wednesday issued sanctions on multiple people accused of financing Hezbollah, a Lebanese militant group.

Those named in the sanctions include Qatari, Saudi, Bahraini and Palestinian nationals, the U.S. Treasury Department said in a news release announcing the action. The sanctions froze assets for the seven individuals in the United States and made it a crime for Americans to do business with them.

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"Hezbollah seeks to abuse the international financial system by developing global networks of financiers to fill its coffers and support its terrorist activity," said Office of Foreign Assets Control Director Andrea M. Gacki. "The cross-border nature of this Hezbollah financial network underscores the importance of our continued cooperation with international partners, such as the government of Qatar, to protect the U.S. and international financial systems from terrorist abuse."

The U.S. government designated Ali Reda Hassan al-Banai, Ali Reda al-Qassabi Lari and Abd al-Muayyid al-Banai as terrorists for materially assisting, sponsoring, or providing financial, material or technological support for Hezbollah.

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The Treasury Department said Ali al-Banai and Lari sent tens of millions of dollars to the group through a formal financial system and cash couriers. They also allegedly met with Hezbollah officials in Lebanon and Iran.

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Ali al-Banai and his brother, Abd al-Banai, are also accused of holding joint accounts they used to transfer funds to Hezbollah.

The Treasury Department release also named Abd al-Rahman Abd al-Nabi Shams, Yahya Muhammad al-Abd-al-Muhsin, Majdi Fa'iz al-Ustadz and Sulaiman al-Banai as specially designated global terrorists.

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Shams, who is Ali al-Banai's nephew, is accused of coordinating two real estate projects in Bahrain and delivering funds on behalf of his uncle. The Bahraini government has frozen his bank accounts.

Abd-al-Muhsin, a Saudi relative of Lari, managed Ali al-Banai's real estate in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and managed Lari's businesses in the UAE, the Treasury Department said.

Sulaiman al-Banai, another of Ali al-Banai's relatives, was a manager for the latter's business activity in Qatar and elsewhere.

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The Treasury Department also designated the business AlDar Properties, which is owned by Sulaiman al-Banai.

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