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US Sanctions 2 Lebanese Men for Helping Hezbollah Launder Money

US Sanctions 2 Lebanese Men for Helping Hezbollah Launder Money

Saturday, 14 December, 2019 - 06:15
Nazem Said Ahmad in his penthouse in Beirut, Lebanon. Source: Selections Arts

The US Treasury Department has imposed new sanctions against two Lebanese men who are allegedly Hezbollah money launderers and financiers.

The Treasury accused on Friday Lebanon-based Nazem Said Ahmad and his companies of helping to launder large sums of money for the group.

"Ahmad, who has a vast art collection, is one of Hezbollah's top donors, generating funds through his longstanding ties to the 'blood diamond' trade," it said.

A second man based in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Saleh Assi, was sanctioned for laundering money through Ahmad's diamond business and supporting Adham Husayn Tabaja, another alleged financier already under sanctions.

The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said in a statement that the new designations underscore the extent to which Hezbollah and its affiliates engage in illicit economic activity that prioritizes the group’s own economic interests over those of the Lebanese people.

“The United States supports the Lebanese people’s demand to end corruption and the terrorist financing that thrives in corrupt environments,” it added.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also accused Hezbollah of continuing “to use seemingly legitimate businesses as front companies to raise and launder funds in countries like the DRC where it can use bribery and political connections to secure unfair market access and evade taxes.”

He pledged to continue to take action against Hezbollah financiers like Ahmad and Assi, whom he said “have used money laundering and tax evasion schemes to fund terrorist plots and finance their own lavish lifestyles as the Lebanese people suffer.”

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