In a coordinated effort, the United States and Qatar sanctioned a Hezbollah financial network based in the Arabian Peninsula, the US Treasury Department said on Wednesday.

Ali Reda Hassan al-Banai and Ali Reda al-Qassabi Lari are longtime Hezbollah supporters who secretly sent tens of millions of dollars to the Lebanon-based group through the formal financial system and money couriers, regularly meeting with Hezbollah officials on trips to Lebanon and Iran, the Treasury said. Qatar nominated them, as well as the others sanctioned by the United States on Wednesday, under the country’s terrorist financing and anti-money laundering (AML) laws, the government said in a notice.

“Hezbollah seeks to abuse the international financial system by developing global networks of financiers to fill its coffers and support its terrorist activities,” said Andrea Gacki, director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) at the US Treasury.

Hezbollah was designated by the US State Department in 1997 as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and sanctioned in October 2001. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), of which Qatar is a member, designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization in March 2016.

The latest designations came as Lebanon faces a national collapse amid multiple intersecting crises. Hezbollah has procured Iranian diesel fuel to provide electricity despite the lack of electricity, according to media reports. More fuel is on the way, Hezbollah said.

Ali al-Banai, Qatari national, began sending funds to Hezbollah through a Kuwait-based Hezbollah donor, as well as through the Kuwaiti branch of the Martyrs’ Foundation, which was sanctioned by the United States in 2007, according to the Treasury.

He and his brother, Abd al-Muayyid, who was also sanctioned on Wednesday, held joint accounts at several banks, transferred funds to Hezbollah until the end of 2020, and maintained ties with high-ranking Hezbollah associates, the Treasury said.

Sulaiman al-Banai, another relative of Ali al-Banai, was one of the main responsible for his business and financial activities in Qatar and abroad, the Treasury said. AlDar Properties, a Qatar-based property management company specializing in multi-family residential and commercial real estate, is owned and operated by Sulaiman al-Banai and has been sanctioned due to its control.

Abd al-Rahman Abd al-Nabi Shams, Bahrain-based nephew of Ali al-Banai, coordinated the development of two real estate projects in the country and the delivery of funds to people based in the Gulf on behalf of Ali al-Banai, according to the Treasury. The Bahraini government froze Shams’ bank accounts and fired three more for prosecution, the Treasury said.

Lari, also a Qatari national, has been providing support to Hezbollah since 2000, when it would deliver money on trips to Lebanon, according to the Treasury. He also met with a senior official to transfer funds to the group during a trip to Lebanon, the Treasury said.

In 2018, Lari had worked with al-Banai to transfer money from Qatar to Hezbollah-led organizations, according to the Treasury.

Yahya Muhammad al-Abd-al-Muhsin, a Saudi relative of Lari, managed Ali al-Banai’s real estate in the Gulf from 2019 and was commissioned by Ali al-Banai to manage Lari’s companies in the Emirates Arab Emirates, according to the Treasury. Abd-al-Muhsin maintained regular contact with the two men from 2018, traveling regularly to Qatar to meet with Ali al-Binai, who had transferred hundreds of thousands of Qatari rials to him, the Treasury said.

“This represents one of the most important joint actions we have taken with a [GCC] partner to this day and underlines our extensive bilateral cooperation in the fight against terrorist financing, ”said State Secretary Antony Blinken. “The United States will continue to cooperate with partners, such as the government of Qatar, to protect the American and international financial systems from terrorist abuse. “

“There is a growing international recognition of the true nature of Hezbollah, with 14 countries in Europe and South and Central America taking significant steps to designate, restrict or ban Hezbollah in recent years. We urge other governments to follow suit, ”said Blinken.


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