Posts Tagged ‘OFAC’

h1

Hezbollah financier in Nigeria exposed

March 3, 2015

We’ve known for years that Hezbollah uses supermarkets in West Africa to launder drug money for Hezbollah (such as Tajco Ltd). Amigo Supermarket in Abuja, Nigeria, is just the latest. The U.S. Treasury Department has named 1) Amigo, 2) an amusement park, and 3) a holding company in Nigeria as Hezbollah front companies. Treasury also sanctioned Mustapha Fawaz, age 47, a Lebanese-born Nigerian citizen who co-owns the companies, calling him, “a significant donor to Hizballah” who has “solicited donations in Abuja, Nigeria, and helped arrange the transmission of these funds to Hizballah in Lebanon.”  Treasury’s action freezes any U.S. assets Fawaz may have and prohibits Americans from dealing with Fawaz.

h1

Treasury Department stays limp on Dahabshiil

November 3, 2013

UPDATE—FEB. 28, 2015:

In October 2012, Dahabshiil commenced defamation proceedings in The Netherlands against Dahir Alasow (a Somali asylum seeker living in The Netherlands) in respect of various articles written by Mr Alasow and published on his websites including Sunatimes, Waagacusub and ASOJ. These articles alleged that Dahabshiil was, inter alia, involved in the financing of terrorism and other serious crimes, allegations which were categorically denied by Dahabshiil.

On 16 December 2014, the ’s-Hertogenbosch Court of Appeal of The Netherlands, following an extensive examination of the evidence, ruled that the articles were untrue and defamatory of Dahabshiil. Mr Alasow was ordered to remove various articles containing the defamatory allegations from his websites, publish a notice of rectification and pay Dahabshiil’s legal costs. The court’s decision can be found here:
http://uitspraken.rechtspraak.nl/inziendocument?id=ECLI:NL:GHSHE:2014:5351


Financial crimes expert Kenneth Rijock is asking why the U.S. Treasury Department hasn’t levied sanctions against Dahabshiil, a Somali financial services company that funds the terrorist organization al-Shabaab.

It’s a very valid question considering the amount of evidence that Money Jihad has catalogued against Dahabshiil.  The answer is partly because this money services business (MSB) and other Somali remitters are being protected by an alliance of Somali leaders in Minneapolis, Democrat politicians in Minnesota, national nonprofits and Muslim advocacy groups.  They want to keep the remittance channels to Somalia open at any cost—even if it means that the money will be siphoned off by al-Shabaab to pay operatives and buy weapons.  They lobby Treasury behind the scenes to ensure the spigot stays open, and mistakenly claim that anybody opposed to the money transfers is Islamophobic, and that any bank that severs correspondent relationships with Dahabshiil is cutting off a “lifeline” to the people of Somalia.

Treasury is under orders to ease the skids for zakat and remittance transfers from the U.S. back to the Islamic world.  The larger financial and strategic risks are being ignored because of rigid ideologies and domestic political backscratching.

Rijock makes the case for a change:

Why Won’t OFAC Sanction the Somali MSB Dahabshiil?

Dahabshiil, the money service business headquartered in Somalia, has gone to court in the United Kingdom, seeking injunctive relief against Barclays, which is scheduled to exit their relationship, for both money laundering, as well as terrorist financing, grounds. Barclays has declared that it will delay closing Dahabshiil accounts, pending the imminent court ruling. What’s wrong with this picture ?

Dahabshiil has a long and checkered history of accommodating, and facilitating, the finances of Al-Shabaab, which is a designated terrorist organization. Al-Shabab has:

  1. Received what amounts to annual bribes, or tribute, from the MSB.
  2. Forwarded money, from other Middle Eastern countries, to Dahabshiil accounts in Somalia, which was then used to fund terrorist acts inside the country, including the targeted killing of Somali government officials.
  3. Extorted money, from Somali expats abroad, and sent it in to itself in Somalia, through Dhaabshiil accounts.

Dahabshiil has also been accused of using bribes and threats to shut down critical media comments on its operation.

Where is OFAC on all this ? Someone in a position of leadership at Treasury needs to take action to designate this MSB immediately, and not two years later, please. Al-Shabaab represents not just a clear and present danger to the Government of Somalia, it threatens Kenya and the entire East African region. Its conversion of expatriate Somalis could even pose a terrorist threat to the United States.

Barclays should have to be the only entity going up against this terrorist organization. The US & the UK need to strand up and be counted with sanctions.

h1

Charity’s bank accounts closed over Hamas ties

February 19, 2013

The Al-Aqsa Foundation’s account with the First National Bank of South Africa has been suspended.  The alleged Palestinian relief charity is already blacklisted by the U.S.

An intriguing part of this article is a brief reference to Al-Aqsa opening an account with a second bank, Al-Baraka, after Al-Aqsa was notified that First National Bank would be closing Al-Aqsa’s account.  Al-Aqsa must have believed that Al-Baraka, a branch of the Bahrain-based sharia finance conglomerate known as the Al-Baraka Banking Group, would have been a safe haven for its tainted funds.  However, once the attempt to evade international sanctions by simply opening a new account with a second South African bank was discovered, Al-Baraka has no choice but to suspend Al-Aqsa’s account as well.

In similar developments elsewhere, TCF Financial Corp. is closing the accounts of several Iranian students at the University of Minnesota, and UBS closed a bank account belonging to the UK-based Islamic Relief late last year.

From the Daily Maverick:

Banking woes for SA charity suspected of financing Hamas

The Al Aqsa Foundation has had its banking facilities with two South African banks suspended in recent weeks. Despite being registered with the South African government as a bona fide charity, the foundation is believed to be covertly funnelling funds to Hamas. By KHADIJA PATEL.

The Al-Aqsa Foundation, a charity registered with the Department of Social Development focusing on providing aid to Palestinians has recently had its banking facilities with two South African banks suspended. The Foundation is suspected by the US government to be raising funds for Hamas, the Palestinian resistance movement and governing authority of the Gaza strip.

In December, First National Bank (FNB) issued Al-Aqsa Foundation with three months’ notice before completely shutting its account. In a statement, the CEO of FNB Commercial Banking Michael Vacy-Lyle explained, “It has come to the bank’s attention that the foundation is expressly listed by the US Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and other international sanctions lists.”

The move received widespread condemnation from the South African Muslim community, with at least one prominent cleric calling for a boycott of FNB. The Media Review Network, an organisation focused on the representation of Islam and Muslims in the media, deplored FNB heeding to the dictate of “foreign” agents, despite the Foundation receiving a clean audit from the Department of Social Services.

FNB, however, has sought to dismiss allegations that it has been bullied by the US government into closing the account. The listing is said to have come to the attention of the bank over a year ago during routine internal governance processes, and closing the account is an act of expedience that allows FNB to keep up its relationships with other financial institutions in the US.

Vacy-Lyle said, “The international financial community imposes stringent obligations in respect of the maintenance of banking relationships with entities listed by OFAC and the decision by FNB to terminate its relationship with the foundation is a consequence of this fact alone.”

Annette Hübschle, a researcher focused on the organised crime-terror nexus, said the move to close the Foundation’s account in light of the US listing was revealing of who holds the greatest power in global politics.

Last week it was revealed that another South African bank, Al-Baraka bank, had also frozen an account of the Al-Aqsa Foundation – this account had been opened after FNB had indicated it would be terminating the Foundation’s account.

According to another statement from FNB quoted by Channel Islam International, “The closure is a requirement of global banking governance and is applicable to all South African Banks including Al-Baraka Bank.”

Hübschle agrees. “They have all signed up to the Basel regulations,” she said. “In essence, banks do have to comply, not necessarily with the US, but more if they want to do business in the US then they actually do have to comply.”

She names the example of The Palestinian Relief and Development Fund (Interpal) as a case in point. “In 2003, the US Treasury named Interpal a ‘specially designated global terrorist group’ that directly financed Hamas, while the British Charity Commission gave Interpal a clean bill of health. This perhaps reflects a disagreement about where charity ends and extremism begins,” she said.

The Al-Aqsa Foundation has been described by the United States as a “critical part of Hamas’ transnational terrorist support infrastructure”. According to the US government, Hamas “uses humanitarian relief as cover to provide support to the Hamas terrorist organisation”. Hamas, the governing authority of the Gaza strip, is further designated by the US Secretary of State as a “Foreign Terrorist Organisation”. According to the US, Hamas is known to raise millions of dollars per year throughout the world using charitable fundraising as a cover. Al-Aqsa Foundation is alleged to be one such mask for more nefarious Hamas activity…

h1

Al-Nusra jihadists in Syria sanctioned by U.S.

December 11, 2012

The U.S. State Department listed al-Nusra Front as a foreign terrorist organization yesterday (h/t Twitter user Sal Imburgia ‏@salimb94).  A parallel designation by the Treasury Department will include a prohibition against business deals between Americans and al-Nusra and a freeze of al-Nusra assets in U.S. banks.

A BBC profile of the al-Nusra Front calls the group’s ideology “clearly jihadist,” and says that al-Nusra has claimed responsibility for “many of the bombings that have rocked Syria since the uprising began in March 2011.”

Additional reports have indicated a warm relationship between al-Nusra and Al Qaeda.

Given U.S. support for many groups fighting in the Syrian rebellion, the designation may present a schizophrenic approach to American foreign policy in Syria wherein certain Syrian rebels receive financial support and rebels that they work alongside with receive financial penalties.  McClatchy lays out several other complicating factors in the al-Nusra designation in a good report here.

Kenneth Rijock also weighed in prior to the the designation on what it would mean for U.S. banks with commercial relationships in Syria and the Palestinian territories:

Multiple reports of the imminent OFAC  designation of the Al-Nusra Front, a radical Sunni organisation fighting the Assad regime in Syria, should alert compliance officers whose clients are sending relief funds, and supplies, to Syrian Opposition groups. Its Arabic name is Jabhat Al-Nusra, and the approximate English translation is Front for the Protection of the People of the Levant.

One important detail: Al-Nusra, which has spewed forth anti-American and Anti-Israeli hatred, reportedly contains a fair number of Palestinians. Don’t get caught in an OFAC violation if your clients are in the midst of what you thought were contributions to Palestinian causes, but go straight to Al-Nusra. It has been reported that the OFAC action will take place around 12 December.

I would piggyback on Rijock by making the following suggestion to non-profits, NGOs, charities and their donors:  if you are involved with relief work in either Syria or the Palestinian territories, you should factor the risk of funding this Al Qaeda offshoot into your aid distribution plans.  Are making such donations so important to you that you would risk supporting an Al Qaeda takeover of Syria?

h1

Expert: Obama’s Syria license “dangerous”

November 3, 2012

What good are sanctions against funding Al Qaeda if the Treasury Department issues a blanket license to the Islamist-dominated Syrian Support Group to sponsor whatever causes it deems fit in Syria?  It is worse than simply letting the SSG operate in Syria—it is giving them the express legal authority to do so.  If the money ends up in the wrong hands, the SSG can always say, “We got a license from the U.S. government.  Don’t blame us.”

By Patrick Poole on Oct. 25:

Anti-Terror Authorities Question Where Money Goes From Group With Special License From Obama Administration

In July, the Obama State Department approved an extraordinary license for a newly formed U.S.-based organization, the Syrian Support Group, to raise money for Syrian rebels – overriding the administration’s own sanctions and Obama’s Executive Order against such activity.

To some counterterrorism and terror finance authorities in Washington D.C., this extremely rare privilege raises considerable concerns.

This is especially true because two related figures with the organization, Louay Safi and Mazen Asbahi, have previously been tied to terror fundraising efforts by Islamic organizations identified by the U.S. government in federal court as fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood.

One U.S. Treasury official specializing in terror finance said:

This license sets a dangerous precedent because it gives complete and perfect cover to virtually all of their activities. They can honestly say, “I can’t be fundraising for terror because I have a license from the State Department.” But we have absolutely no idea where that money is going once it leaves the United States. And as the Supreme Court recognized in a court case a few years ago, money raised for terrorist groups is fungible.

The situation in Syria is so fluid, we don’t have the slightest idea who is actually benefiting from this money being raised here, and anybody from the administration who says that they do is bald-faced lying.

The Syrian Support Group was incorporated in April 2012, according to records obtained from the District of Columbia Corporations Division.

On May 24, the group sent a letter to the State Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, and on July 23 that same office issued the license – a copy of which was obtained by The Blaze – allowing them to “export, reexport, sell, or supply to the Free Syrian Army (‘FSA’) financial, communications, logistical, and other services otherwise prohibited by Executive Order 13582 in order to support the FSA.”

The Free Syrian Army is affiliated with the Syrian National Council governed by that group’s military bureau, which is overwhelming dominated by Islamist groups, including the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood…

Details of the Muslim Brotherhood connections are laid out in The Blaze.

h1

HSBC’s mixed record on Sudan

September 14, 2012

Since 1997, the U.S. has maintained sanctions against Sudan, a state sponsor of terrorism.  The United Nations has imposed an arms embargo on Sudan’s Darfur region since 2004 and asset freezes of some Sudanese officials since 2005.  The U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has limited U.S. dollar transactions in Sudan since 2005.

But those sanctions have not prevented HSBC from periodically making improper transactions in U.S. dollars in Sudan from 2005 to 2008.  The instances described do not sound like intentional efforts to undermine the international sanctions regime against Sudan, but the actions were nonetheless negligent.  From the U.S. Senate’s report on HSBC earlier this summer (with internal citations omitted):

A second set of OFAC sensitive transactions involved Sudan, a country which is also subject to a comprehensive sanction program in the United States.  Internal bank documents indicate that, from at least 2005 to 2008, HBUS processed a considerable volume of U.S. dollar transactions involving Sudan that, once the new GCL [group circular letter from HSBC’s Compliance Group] took effect, should have decreased. The reasons they continued include a wide range of factors, from inadequate bank staffing reviewing OFAC transactions, to deceptive wire transfer documentation, to ongoing actions by HSBC affiliates to send these potentially prohibited transactions through HBUS.

In August 2005, a month after HSBC Group issued the GCL policy barring HSBC affiliates from engaging in U.S. dollar transactions in violation of OFAC prohibitions, HSBC Group head of Global Institutional Banking, Mark Smith, circulated a managerial letter identifying correspondent relationships that would be affected.  The letter stated: “An overriding observation is that the revised policy will most significantly impact the Cuban and Sudan correspondent bank relationships.” It also observed: “For Sudan and Cuba, most of our business is conducted in USD and the discussions already initiated with the affected banks will dictate the extent of our ongoing relationships.” In September 2005, a senior HBEU payments official Rod Moxley completed an analysis of U.K. transactions over a 10-day period that were stopped by the WOLF filter and noted “a considerable number of USD denominated transactions” for Sudan.

A year after the GCL took effect, however, one affiliate attempted to clear a Sudan-related transaction through HBUS in violation of company policy. On December 6, 2006, HBUS blocked a $2.5 million payment originating from an HSBC branch in Johannesburg, because the payment details referenced the “Sudanese Petroleum Corporation.” Although the payment had also been stopped by the WOLF filter in HSBC Johannesburg, an employee there had approved its release and sent the transaction through their correspondent account at HBUS. An internal email from HSBC Johannesburg explained that the release of the funds was:

a genuine error in an attempt to push the day[‘]s work through before the cut-off time. I believe the loss of three staff in the department leaving only two permanent staff remaining is causing the[m] to work towards clearing their queues rather than slow down to read the warnings such as these. … Having said that I also feel it is a matter of training where seeing the word ‘Sudan’ alone should have been warning enough.

The email also noted that the transaction had been sent by Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, which was “aware that this payment may not go through as they have attempted to make this payment via their other correspondent banks and failed.”

In July 2007, HBUS discovered that another client, Arab Investment Company, had been sending “multiple Sudan-related payments” through its U.S. dollar account at HBUS, that other banks later blocked for specifying a Sudanese originator or beneficiary, “suggesting that HBUS has been processing cover payments for this client.” An email identified seven wire transfers over a one-year period, collectively involving more than $1.1 million, in which the documentation provided to HBUS made no reference to Sudan, preventing the transfers from being stopped by HBUS’ OFAC filter. The email noted that two of the wire transfers later blocked by other banks had resulted in letters from OFAC seeking an explanation for HBUS’ allowing the transfers to take place, and suggested closing the client account to prevent more such incidents.

On another occasion, HBUS identified five wire transfer payments between January and November 2007, totaling more than $94,000, that turned out to be intended for a Sudanese company, but had been processed as straight through payments at HBUS, because “there was no beneficiary address and no mention of ‘Sudan’.”

In still other cases, wire transfers clearly referencing Sudan were stopped by HBUS’ OFAC filter for further review, but then allowed by HBUS staff to proceed. An HBUS internal report on OFAC compliance noted, for example, two blocked wire transfers involving Sudan, one for over $44,000 and the other for over $29,000, blocked on November 5 and December 7, 2007, respectively, by HBUS’ OFAC filter, but subsequently “released due to human error.”

In August 2008, HBUS noted that it was then holding over $3.2 million in Sudan-related payments sent to the bank from other HSBC affiliates.

The bulk of the funds came from blocking a $2.5 million payment from HSBC Johannesburg destined for the Sudanese Petroleum Corporation, but three other Sudan-related payments from HSBC affiliates were also identified, a $300,000 payment sent by HSBC Hong Kong; a payment for more than $367,000 payment from HSBC Dubai, and a payment for more than $58,000 from British Arab Commercial Bank Ltd.

The email listing these blocked funds noted that a court order was seeking transfer of the funds to a federal court in the United States in connection with a lawsuit seeking compensation for the families of 17 U.S. sailors killed in a 2000 terrorist attack on the USS Cole in Yemen.

In August 2010, in connection with an effort to exit correspondent relationships with 121 international banks that HBUS determined it could no longer support, HBUS CEO Irene Dorner sent an email noting references to 16 banks in Sudan. Ms. Dorner wrote:  “In Phase 2 there will be Trade names the exit for which may be more complicated but to give you a flavor of the problem we seem to have 16 correspondent banks in Sudan which cannot be right.”

h1

Ex-money launderer says ING should lose license

July 9, 2012

OFAC, a division of the U.S. Treasury Department, settled with ING last month for violations of economic sanctions against Cuba and Iran.  Former self-professed money launderer and financial crimes analyst Kenneth Rijock says that he is “totally disgusted” by how weak the settlement is, especially considering that trade with Iran could support its attempt to become a nuclear aggressor.  Mr. Rijock asserts that given the seriousness of the violation that ING should have lost its license outright.

Taken together with sanctions expert Eric Ferrari’s exasperation over OFAC’s settlement with Genesis Assets Managers over Iran sanctions, and our own frustration with the Department of Justice settling with Islamic Investment Company of the Gulf (IICG) over Muslim Brotherhood funding, we are once again seeing the painful results of the Obama administration’s settlement strategy.  Whereas Bush sought to investigate, raid, and shut down nefarious Islamic charities and sanctions violators, Pres. Obama has opted for a softer, gentler, smoother, weaker, less risky, more politically correct path.

Surely, the feds are balancing economic and political considerations by choosing not to revoke ING’s license.  But if we were truly serious about stopping Iran dead in its tracks, would we really have let ING off with a slap of the wrist?

From Mr. Rijock’s blog:

SHOULD ING BANK LOSE ITS US LICENSE ?

I  am totally disgusted with the latest OFAC settlement; $619m fine levied against ING bank, clearly their biggest yet,  for the most egregious sanctions violations seen in a long time. Look at what the bank admitted to doing:

(1) Omitting references to Cuba in payment messages sent to US financial institutions.

(2) Creating and providing fraudulent bank endorsement stamps, for use by Cuban financial institutions.

(3) Use of corporate entities to obscure the identities of sanctioned clients.

Frankly, the fine is insufficient; why haven’t any of those bloody bank officers who committed these violations been arrested ?

Finally, the only punishment that bankers will understand is the revocation of a US bank license; anything else is not a sufficient deterrent. Helping Iran to evade sanctions, and probably facilitate its WMD and ballistic missile programmes, through purchasing of equipment and supplies; helping all the sanctioned jurisdictions make purchases ?   Let the punishment fit the crime; take away something meaningful, Mr. Regulator, please. Not another financial slap on the wrist. That is the cost of doing business.

your public servants at OFAC

Shut down their New York offices for five years.

h1

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.

h1

HPG: Terror laws ruin our humanitarian aims

October 31, 2011

Then maybe there’s something wrong with your “humanitarian” projects in the first place…

A new report from the U.K.-based Overseas Development Institute’s (ODI) Humanitarian Policy Group (HPG) claims that “The application of counter-terrorism legislation and other measures to humanitarian operations is challenging principled humanitarian action.”  This is the latest argument from the same type of people who falsely claim there has been a “chilling effect” against Muslim charitable giving over the past ten years.

The HPG report fails to offer any data substantiating their claims.  The best the report is able to do is describe interviews with anonymous charity workers who claim to have felt “uncertain” or “anxious” about how to comply with laws against terrorism while carrying out their programs overseas.  Not even one example with a named source or named organization is given.

Money Jihad will spare readers from slogging through HPG’s twelve page report.  We’ll even help HPG out a bit by boiling down their most damning (which are pretty mild) charges about the impact of counter-terror laws on humanitarian action into a simple bullet list:

  • “Several small organisations which ran sponsorship schemes for orphans in the Gaza Strip using private donations from Gulf donors have had to stop their operations”
  • “Examples provided in interviews for this Policy Brief include OFAC licences not being renewed for specific projects in Gaza”
  • “Fears that Al-Shabaab was benefiting from the influx of humanitarian assistance, particularly food aid, led OFAC to suspend over $50 million in humanitarian aid for Somalia in 2009”
  • “Bank transactions are frequently stopped without explanation and organisations have to wait for up to three months while an investigation is carried out.”
  • Due to concern about the parties involved, aid meetings in Gaza are conducted without minutes and advice is circulated on non-letterhead paper.

Those are the worst, most specific allegations they made.  So somebody—we’re not sure who, but they’re probably in Gaza—once felt concerned that they weren’t able or were delayed in carrying out unspecified activities in a manner they chose.  The ladies who wrote the report probably have the best of intentions, but if a certain donor or charity finds it difficult to work in Gaza without working with Hamas, then perhaps they should be performing charity work elsewhere.

The report would have been far more credible if it had included, at best, scientific data, but at a minimum, named sources with anecdotal evidence at a minimum.

h1

OFAC clears way for illusory “food and medicine” donations to Iran

June 22, 2011

Open the flood gates.  Fundamentalist Shia charities and leftists can send materials to Iran to their hearts’ content, as long as they claim that they’re sending “food and medicine.”  This creates all kinds of blurry lines whereby individual donors will give zakat or khums to organizations whose leadership or imams will claim is going toward food shipments to Iran.

Senders of aid will not be required to go through any time of licensing or registration process in order to send these supplies.

This will probably lead to direct money transfers to Iran from Muslim Americans who will claim that they have worked out relationships with Iranian food and drug distributors to disperse the items.  Or the guidance could be interpreted as freedom to work with Iran’s bonyads, the quasi-charitable Iranian institutions which are firmly in control of the theocratic elites.

Yet another exemption to the Iranian sanctions policies (like these) could also help relieve pressure on the Iranian regime to reform.  As Iranian expatriates in American begin sending food relief back home, it could reduce the will of Iranian citizens to demand reforms from their government.

The policy could also create a new black market of food and relief supplies similar to what Iraq experienced in the 1990s, where the wrong people invariably end up benefiting.

Normally, new regulations are published in the Federal Register.  This was apparently published only as a PDF flyer.  Moreover, the announcement does not appear to be the result of any formal rule-making process.  No public comment was considered to our knowledge.

From Treasury’s OFAC on June 17:

Donations of food and medicine to Iran and the non-Specified Areas of Sudan, when intended to be used to relieve human suffering, are exempt from the prohibitions of the Iranian Transaction Regulations (“ITR”) and the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations (“SSR”); thus, such donations by U.S. persons do not require an ITR or SSR license issued pursuant to the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 (“TSRA”). However, the commercial exportation or reexportation of food and medicine to Iran and the non-Specified Areas of Sudan is subject to the licensing requirements of TSRA. OFAC generally regards the exportation or reexportation of medical devices, donated or commercial, to be subject to the TSRA and therefore to require a TSRA license. In addition, the donation of funds to a non-US person for the purchase of food, medicine, or medical devices to be exported to Iran or the non-Specified Areas of Sudan would require a license.

h1

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.