Posts Tagged ‘Adam Szubin’

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Treasury says Iran will keep funding Hezbollah

September 4, 2015

Treasury undersecretary Adam Szubin says Iran will continue sponsoring terrorism regardless of the sanctions deal with Iran.  This seems to be a point upon which many executive branch officials agree.  In fact, it will probably worsen.  We’ve covered many reports over the years of Hezbollah and Hamas budgets suffering because of sanctions against Iran.  Logically, as sanctions are lifted, we can expect the Shia-backed terrorist groups to replenish their bank accounts and fund newer, bolder attacks.

From the Washington Free Beacon:

Sanctions Czar: Iran will Continue Funding Terrorist Armies Under Nuclear Deal

BY: Blake Seitz

Obama’s sanctions czar admitted Wednesday that Iran would continue to fund terrorist proxies like Hezbollah under the nuclear deal.

Administration officials like Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Treasury Jack Lew have downplayed the possibility that Iran could use sanctions relief cash to fund terrorism, saying that much of that money would be earmarked for debt relief and domestic projects.

Adam Szubin, the undersecretary of Treasury for terrorism and financial crimes, was more candid about the most likely use of sanctions relief money.

“Unfortunately I do expect to continue to see Iran funding Hezbollah and its other violent terrorist proxies,” Szubin told the Senate Banking Committee.

Szubin praised the U.S. sanctions regime for bringing the Iranian economy to its knees.

“Thanks to those congressional sanctions, our sanctions against Iran’s proxies carry this international weigh and designated entities become pariahs worldwide,” Szubin said.

Szubin said that “it is incumbent” on the U.S. “to do more” through sanctions to stop Iran’s financing of terrorism—although the president’s nuclear deal lifts many sanctions on Iran and allows its banned banks back into the global financial system…

Szubin has replaced David Cohen as undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.  President Obama has named Cohen as the deputy director of the CIA.

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More Iran sanction wind whistling

November 10, 2011

The normally reticent director of OFAC, Adam Szubin, has written a blog post about Iran sanctions on the U.S. Treasury Department’s website.  The post accompanied Treasury’s designation of six front companies that own more vessels from Iran’s maritime fleet (IRISL), and Szubin dubiously claimed that “IRISL’s days may be numbered.”

Szubin also linked to a somewhat disorienting Treasury graphic to show the measures Iran has taken to conceal the true identity and ownership of its vessels:

Iran exploits Isle of Man & Panama

At any rate, the post highlights Treasury’s desire to demonstrate that the Obama administration’s sanctions on Iran are “tough” and “smart,” although critics have pointed out that sanctions against Iran have done little to deter Iranian nuclear advances.

During his opening statement at a Senate hearing last month, Banking Committee ranking minority member Sen. Shelby (R-AL) levied a scathing review of the sanctions strategy:

Despite 30 years of progressively more stringent economic sanctions, Iran remains one of the more serious threats to the national security of the U.S. and our allies. Iran continues to support authoritarian regimes, terrorist organizations and radical militias in Iraq and Afghanistan. For allies such as Israel… Iran’s threat to its very existence is real, continues unabated, and cannot be ignored.

More than one year has passed since Congress, the UN, and many of our allies levied the most recent round of sanctions against Iran in an attempt to derail Iran’s efforts to obtain nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, the heightened sanctions have not yet produced any significant change in Iran’s behavior regarding its nuclear program, international terror, or its record on human rights.

One problem is that the White House and the State Department have carefully managed to avoid labeling any major Russian, Chinese, or other US-trading partner’s companies as violators of US-mandated sanctions. China, Russia, and others are expanding trade with Iran, continuing to provide it with banking assistance and investing in its energy sector. Additionally, China and Russia have further undermined U.S. sanctions by supporting Iran’s military programs. For sanctions against Iran to be as effective as possible, the Administration needs to do a better job at securing the cooperation of the global community.

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Nine banks hoodwinked by IRISL

June 27, 2011

Iran, the grand Shia deceiver, managed to trick nine New York bank houses into making transactions on behalf of their shipping industry in violation of U.S. sanctions laws.  Iran is known to use its own banks and international banks to funnel money back into its nuclear programs.  At least this time they were eventually discovered, $60 million later…

From MoneyLaundering.com on June 21:

Banks Receive Praise and a Warning in Press Conference Announcing Indictments Tied to Iranian Shipper

By Brian Monroe and Kieran Beer

Banks were the subject of praise and a warning at a press conference on Monday unveiling a 317 count indictment against 11 corporations and five individuals for their alleged participation in a conspiracy involving an Iranian shipping company.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance characterized nine banks as victims of deception when they processed more than $60 million of payments for the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) in violation of U.S. sanctions.

The banks “were not complicit in any way, but on the contrary have been very helpful” during the 14-month investigation that culminated in the indictments, said Adam Kaufmann, who is chief of the investigative division in the district attorney’s office.

And, the efforts of the nine large clearing banks to aid the district attorney’s investigation were “very aggressive and very sophisticated,” according to Adam Szubin, director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the U.S. Treasury Department agency tasked with managing U.S. economic sanctions, who also took part in the press conference.

But Vance added that “to the extent there are banks that are banking sanctioned entities or not paying enough attention, this indictment is a continuing indication that our office and OFAC are watching carefully and will take action when we see intentional, pervasive efforts to violate federal and state law.”

IRISL and 15 others set up shell companies in Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates in order to fool major New York-based dollar clearing banks into processing about $63 million in transactions, according to the indictment.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Lawyers poised to profit from the money jihad

December 30, 2010

Suppose Osama bin Laden were captured alive.  And suppose like Khalid Sheikh Muhammad that the Obama administration tried to bring bin Laden to a civilian court in Manhattan.  But don’t give him a garden variety public defender or even a high-profile attorney working pro bono.  Give him the best attorney that money can buy—even more than most of the 9/11 victims’ families could expend on their own legal proceedings.

Now bin Laden can have the best attorney his money can buy, because all his assets could be unfrozen to use for a legal defense under a new OFAC licensing program.  The new rules would even allow terrorists to establish their own legal defense funds.  The more the jihadists tax, steal, and launder, the bigger cut their lawyers will eventually get. 

If I were OFAC director Adam Szubin, a Bush appointee who has been kept on by Pres. Obama, I would resign immediately in protest of this disgusting insult to the victims of jihad.  Here’s the story from Creeping Sharia:

Obama gives terror suspects access to frozen assets

Posted on December 28, 2010 by creeping

The likes of the ACLU and CAIR can now get funds directly from the terrorists they defend. From Judicial Watch:

Caving in to the demands of liberal civil rights groups, the Obama Administration has quietly amended a counterterrorism sanction so that accused terrorists can pay for their defense with assets frozen by the U.S. government.

The exemption to the government’s Global Terrorism Sanctions was made official this week by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which is responsible for enforcing economic and trade sanctions based on U.S. foreign policy and national security threats. The office operates under presidential national emergency powers and acts largely on international mandates.

Among its duties is to freeze the assets of individuals or groups engaged in terrorist activities. Under executive orders signed by both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, the OFAC can confiscate the assets of suspected terrorists identified by the Treasury Secretary if the funds are in control of institutions regulated by the U.S.

That means that individuals charged with terrorism can’t access money to pay for attorneys, something that has long bothered the left. This week the Treasury Department gave in, making it possible for terrorism suspects whose assets have been frozen by Uncle Sam to use the money to pay for legal representation. Suspects must apply for a special license from the OFAC, which will make the cash disbursements.

The official amendment in the Federal Register says that the OFAC is adding “new general licenses to authorize U.S. persons to receive specified types of payment for certain authorized legal services.” This also includes a license authorizing the establishment of legal defense funds that collect donations from persons who are not suspected of terrorism.

It’s unlikely that the mainstream media will give this much coverage or that White House press releases will tout it. After all, the official notice in the Federal Registry says that “public participation” or “delay in effective date” are not applicable because the amendments involve a foreign affairs function and executive order.

There’s more here plus reader comments.

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NYT surprised by bypassed sanctions

December 28, 2010

The New York Times printed an article on Dec. 24 expressing surprise about the number of licenses granted to American companies to do business in countries under U.S. economic sanctions.  The licenses, which are more like waivers, are granted by a “little known” agency.  “Little known,” perhaps, to the New York Times, but Money Jihad follows OFAC closely (see here, here, and here for example).

The New York Times managed to get some rare public comments from OFAC director Adam Szubin, who is quoted as saying his organization is too under-resourced to adequately evaluate all license requests.  It’s a curious statement given Treasury official Daniel Glaser’s testimony before Congress earlier this year that Treasury has all the resources–legally and financially–that it needs in order to maintain its CFT and sanctions programs.  Which assistant secretary is off message here?

Anyway, the New York Times piece is worth a look.  For now I would just like draw readers’ attention to part of the interesting data that NYT compiled from Treasury’s database about the number of licenses granted to companies.  Here are ten businesses with the highest number of waivers to engage in commercial activities with sanctioned countries:

Which corporations have the most OFAC waivers

Top 10 licensees operating in sanctioned countries

Note in particular the licenses for Iran.  General Electric, Coico Medical LLC, and American Pulp & Paper are busy beavers there.

Many of the licenses are for valid humanitarian purposes.  Some aren’t.  Popcorn seller Henry Lapidos told the New York Times that Iranian soldiers wouldn’t  “be taking microwavable popcorn” to war …  Pretty glib, buddy.  Sell the popcorn if you like, but don’t fool us into believing that your local distributor and retailers aren’t run by an Iranian bonyad under the control of a mullah or IRGC commander who’s using the profits to fund a crackdown on pro-reform dissidents.

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Letter to Treasury

September 14, 2010

Dear Under Secretary Levey,

You have an important job.  It’s challenging work.  And most people agree that you do it well, or you probably wouldn’t have retained your position during both the Bush administration and the Obama administration.  Treasury has, by its own account at least, succeeded in restricting the financial activities of al Qaeda and has cracked down on entities that help Iran evade sanctions.

But we can all use an outsider perspective from time to time.  If you won’t invite anti-terror finance bloggers in for a rap session with you, sir, please at least consider the following constructive criticism and recommendations: 

  1. Stop letting the Saudis get away with lying to us about the continued transfer of funds overseas without SAMA approval.  The Hialeah, Florida, office of the International Islamic Relief Organization was incorporated under Saudi auspices without disclosing that information to the GAO.  As such, the feds should raid the office and seize its records for review by TFI.  All TFI assistant secretaries should be instructed to refrain immediately from painting a rosy picture of Saudi cooperation in the war against terror financing.
  2. Stop behaving like a charitable facilitator. Read the rest of this entry ?
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Feckless asset freezes?

April 6, 2010

The Wall Street Journal ran an excellent article by Steve Stecklow yesterday on the teeny tiny amount of assets frozen under U.S. and international sanctions regimes against Iran.  The experts are saying that it’s not about the dollars, but the pressure—let’s hope they’re right.

In its latest proposed set of tougher United Nations sanctions on Iran, the U.S. is again relying on asset freezes as one tool to pressure the country not to build nuclear weapons.

But a close look at how much Iranian money has been frozen to date in the U.S. under existing sanctions shows that the total amount is surprisingly small, less than $43 million, or roughly a quarter of what Iran earns in oil revenue in a single day.

Other countries also haven’t frozen very much, despite freezes implemented by the European Union and the U.N., interviews show. Switzerland, for example, has frozen only about $1.4 million in Iranian assets—a tiny fraction of the $712 million Swiss companies exported to Iran last year.

“It’s peanuts,” says Jeremy P. Carver, a British attorney who has advised governments on implementing sanctions. “It’s not going to really change a thing.”

U.S. officials do not dispute that current amounts of frozen Iranian assets seem small. In some cases, Iran has shifted the money outside the U.S. or EU to avoid sanctions. The officials emphasize that their strategy is not to seize many assets, but to pressure Iran to change its ways by making it extremely difficult for it to do business.

“The strategy is not to freeze as many assets as we can,” says Stuart Levey, the Treasury Department official who has headed the U.S. sanctions initiative during both the Obama and Bush administrations. “That alone, without the full range of measures we can bring to bear, would be a failing strategy.”

The proposed new asset freezes come as an Iranian firm recently acquired hardware used to enrich uranium, circumventing current sanctions designed to prevent such purchases, The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend. The International Atomic Energy Agency is investigating how the Iranian firm procured valves and vacuum gauges used in uranium enrichment that were made by a French company owned by Tyco International Ltd. until December. The French and U.S. companies have said they knew nothing about it.

Iran insists it is trying to develop civilian atomic power—not weapons. A spokesman for Iran’s U.N. mission in New York did not respond to requests for comment for this story.

Asset freezes remain part of the U.S. and its allies’ arsenal in trying to pressure Iran not to develop atomic weapons…

The full WSJ article is here.  My closing comment is that if I were one of the bankers required to report information on my customers all the time to the Treasury, I would be disappointed to hear that the heavy federal regulations on my industry hadn’t amounted to much.