Posts Tagged ‘Treasury Department’


U.S. publicly names Saudi Hamas bankroller

September 14, 2015

Saudi high rollers have been funding jihad for decades.  U.S. officials usually only talk about it in generalities.  But the Treasury Department has recently announced sanctions against several Saudis including Abu-Ubaydah al-Agha, a high-ranking money man for the terrorist group Hamas, and Mahir Salah, who launders money for Hamas through front companies in Saudi Arabia.

From Agence France-Presse on Sept. 11 (h/t El Grillo):

US sanctions aim at Saudi-Hamas finance link

New US Treasury sanctions Thursday took aim at financial links between Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, which the US labels a terrorist group.

The Treasury named Hamas political bureau member Saleh Aruri; Saudi-based Hamas financier Mahir Salah; Abu-Ubaydah Khayri Hafiz Al-Agha, a Saudi citizen and “senior Hamas financial officer”; and al-Agha’s company Asyaf International Holding Group for sanctions.

It said Aruri has since 2013 “overseen the distribution of Hamas finances” and works closely with Salah.

Salah, a dual British and Jordanian citizen, has led the Hamas Finance Committee in Saudi Arabia, which the Treasury called “the largest center of Hamas’s financial activity.”

“As of late 2014, Salah managed several front companies in Saudi Arabia that conducted money laundering activities for Hamas,” it added.

Al-Agha and his company, meanwhile, are “involved in investment, funding, and money transfers for Hamas in Saudi Arabia”…


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.


U.S. takes aim at Dawood Ibrahim’s brother

February 3, 2015

New sanctions have been slapped against underworld crime boss and terrorist mastermind Dawood Ibrahim’s network by U.S. Treasury Department. One of the targets of the sanctions is Dawood’s brother Anees, who has at various times been erroneously reported as dead. Dawood was the mastermind and financier of the 1993 Mumbai bombings that killed 257 people. The expansion of sanctions against his gang speaks to an improving diplomatic relationship between the U.S. and India, and to a souring relationship with Pakistan where Dawood is currently being sheltered.

Here are the details from Treasury:

Treasury Sanctions Two Indian Nationals and a Company Based in Pakistan for Ties to the South Asian Criminal Network ‘D Company’


Action Targets Long-Time Members of D Company and a Paper Mill Controlled by One of the Designated Individuals

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury today announced the designation of two Indian nationals and one entity in Pakistan as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act) due to their ties to D Company, a South Asian criminal organization led by Dawood Ibrahim.  As a result of today’s action, all assets of those designated that are based in the United States or are in the control of U.S. persons are frozen, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.

D Company is a transnational crime syndicate that principally operates in India, Pakistan, and the United Arab Emirates.  D Company is involved in a variety of criminal activities, including narcotics trafficking, extortion, smuggling, and contract killings.  Dawood Ibrahim and other leaders of D Company are the subjects of INTERPOL Red Notices for their suspected involvement in the 1993 terrorist bombings in Mumbai, India in which 257 people were killed.  In October 2003, the Treasury Department named Dawood Ibrahim as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, and in June 2006, the United States named both Dawood Ibrahim and D Company as Significant Foreign Narcotics Traffickers pursuant to the Kingpin Act.  Additionally, in May 2012, Treasury designated two senior D Company lieutenants, Chhota Shakeel and Ibrahim “Tiger” Memon, under the Kingpin Act.

“Today, the United States is targeting D Company, a violent organization notorious for its drug trafficking activities and terrorism,” said Adam J. Szubin, Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control.  “Combatting transnational organized crime is a top U.S. priority, and we will continue to expose the activities of D Company and the underpinnings of criminal financial networks worldwide.”

Today’s action targets two long-time members of D Company, Shaikh Anis Ibrahim Kaskar (Anis Ibrahim), the brother of Dawood Ibrahim, and Aziz Moosa Bilakhia (Bilakhia), both Indian nationals.  Anis Ibrahim is known to be involved in narcotics trafficking, extortion, contract killings, and money laundering on behalf of D Company.  Anis Ibrahim is also accused of involvement in the 1993 Mumbai blasts.  Today’s action also targets Mehran Paper Mill, a Kotri City, Pakistan-based paper company owned or controlled by Anis Ibrahim.

Bilakhia works directly for Anis and Dawood Ibrahim and manages extortion, enforcement, and debt collection activities for D Company.  Bilakhia has been involved with D Company since at least the 1993 Mumbai bombings, for which he is wanted by Indian authorities…


Treasury hopes ISIS will go broke on its own

October 28, 2014

In remarks last week (hat tip to @HSPI), Treasury official David Cohen confirmed that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria makes $1 million a day from oil sales, that it has made $20 million this year in ransoms, and that it makes millions a month from extortion. Cohen laid out plans to counter each facet of ISIS’s funding.

Cohen also acknowledged that some of Treasury’s tools aren’t well suited to the task of bankrupting ISIS, but noted with some optimism that “Attempting to govern the cities, towns and sprawling territory in Iraq and Syria where it currently operates, much less delivering some modicum of services to the millions of people it seeks to subjugate, is expensive,” and that ISIS would ultimately be unable “to meet the cost of governing.”

To support his argument, Cohen cited a journalist with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace who reckons that, although ISIS is well funded, the budgetary demands of controlling such a large territory exceed even their financial resources. ISIS’s revenues may be $1.5 billion annually, but prior Iraqi budgets for the provinces under ISIS’s control exceeded $2.5 billion per year.

ISIS’s potential budget deficits become even starker when one considers that most of its money isn’t spent on public services. Die Welt has reported (hat tip to Puneet) that just one-third of ISIS’s money is spent on providing basic utilities and social services to the population within its territory, while one-third go to salaries for fighters and employees, and one-third is spent on weapons.

So there is hope that ISIS could be taken down a peg financially, but it won’t be through sanctions and monitoring suspicious financial activity: it could come through diplomacy, military action, and by the harsh realities of governance.

(Thanks to Terrorism Watch, El Grillo, and Red Team Red Queen for sending in news coverage of Cohen’s remarks.)


5 Qataris who fund Al Qaeda

June 30, 2014

In addition to institutional and charitable support by Qatar, Al Qaeda and its offshoots (including jihadists in Syria and Iraq) receive substantial financial support from private Qatari donors and bundlers. Here’s a quick who’s who:

Qatari fundraiser for ISIS

Abd al-Rahman al-Nuaymi

Abd al-Rahman al-Nuaymi
The U.S. Treasury Department describes al-Nuaymi as “a Qatar-based terrorist financier and facilitator who has provided money and material support and conveyed communications to al-Qa’ida and its affiliates in Syria, Iraq, Somalia and Yemen for more than a decade. He was considered among the most prominent Qatar-based supporters of Iraqi Sunni extremists.” Al-Nuaymi transferred $600K to Al Qaeda in Syria in 2013, and sent $2 million monthly to Al Qaeda in Iraq for an undisclosed period of time. He is also described as an interlocutor between Qatari nationals and Al Qaeda in Iraq leaders.

Salim Hasan Khalifa Rashid al-Kuwari
Treasury says al-Kuwari “provides financial and logistical support to al-Qa’ida, primarily through al-Qa’ida facilitators in Iran. Based in Qatar, Kuwari has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in financial support to al-Qa’ida and has provided funding for al-Qa’ida operations, as well as to secure the release of al-Qa’ida detainees in Iran and elsewhere.”

Abdallah Ghanim Mafuz Muslim al-Khawar
According to U.S. officials, “Al-Khawar has worked with Kuwari to deliver money, messages and other material support to al-Qa’ida elements in Iran. Like Kuwari, Khawar is based in Qatar and has helped to facilitate travel for extremists interested in traveling to Afghanistan for jihad.

Khalifa Muhammad Turki al-Subaiy
The UN describes al-Subaiy as “a Qatar-based terrorist financier and facilitator who has provided financial support to, and acted on behalf of, the senior leadership of Al-Qaida (QE.A.4.01). He provided assistance to senior Al-Qaida leader Khalid Sheikh Mohammed prior to Sheikh Mohammed’s capture in March 2003. Since that time, he has provided financial support to Al-Qaida senior leadership in South Asia.” Al-Subaiy served a brief prison sentence in 2008 before being released by Qatar.

Yusuf Qaradawi
The Egyptian-born, Qatar-based spiritual father of the international Muslim Brotherhood sits atop a massive terrorist funding network including the “Union of Good” umbrella network of charities that funds Hamas. Qaradawi was also a sharia adviser for Al Taqwa which provided banking services to Al Qaeda.

This piece has also been published at Terror Finance Blog.


Tracking terror finance and government follies: recommended reading

January 16, 2014
  • The recent designation by the Treasury Department of an Al Qaeda financier neglects to mention that he and his organizations have consorted with Yusuf Qaradawi, spiritual father of the Muslim Brotherhood… more>>
  • New details on the sanctioned Saudi billionaire in Turkey and the cover-up by Recep Erdoğan… more>>
  • Government forces the financial sector to do the lion’s share of work in screening for laundered or terrorist funds, but government doesn’t really want to hear financial institutions’ ideas on how the process could be improved, says industry analyst Tom Keatinge… more>>
  • Monitoring compliance with government financial regulations in a war zone in another continent is easy, right?  One expert explains why it isn’t, and how a UK court got it wrong on Dahabshiil… more>>

Colombian city a hub for Hezbollah money

January 7, 2014

Lebanese families in Maicao, Colombia, are at the crossroads of a lucrative network of businesses, money launderers, and drug traffickers who send money back to Lebanon to finance Hezbollah, according to a special report from the Miami Herald.

Ali Yalili, a Shia Muslim in Maicao interviewed for the story, told the Herald that Shiites there are “unfairly targeted as financiers of terrorism.”  But evidence from the U.S. Treasury Department strongly demonstrates the important role that Lebanese businessmen and women in Maicao play in filling Hezbollah’s coffers.

Thanks to Sal for sending this over:

Hezbollah financing evolves beyond Colombia’s Muslim communities

By Abraham Mahshie

Special to the Miami Herald

MAICAO, Colombia — Samira Hajj Ahmad flew to Maicaofrom Beirut in 1982 for her honeymoon. She didn’t intend to stay for 31 years. Nor did she expect Hezbollah to follow her.

During her two days of flying to Colombia, war broke out in southern Lebanon, with some of the largest troop movements in her native Beqaa Valley. Israel had invaded southern Lebanon to root out a nascent Shiite extremist group known as Hezbollah that had been using the country as a base from which to attack northern Israel. Her family encouraged her to stay in Maicao, a dusty border town with a free trade zone that is home to Colombia’s largest Muslim population.

Today, Hezbollah is the most powerful political movement in Lebanon — and its influence stretches all the way to Maicao. Each year, millions of dollars of drug money are laundered in Maicao, where some community members openly proclaim their support for Hezbollah. Recent U.S. Treasury Department actions have slowed the flow of cash to terrorist groups, but financiers have fled and new networks have reconstituted that are harder to identify. Meanwhile, the usual suspects — Lebanese descendant Colombians — are tired of taking the blame.

Hajj Ahmad, 49, occasionally reads with shock the Maicao newspaper reports of neighbors blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury Department for financing the terrorist group. Such was the case for a young woman with a pretty face and black hijab or headscarf who lived alone with her sons and tended nearby family shops.

The woman, Fatima Fadlallath Cheaitilly, was cited in a December 2011 Treasury report as a key associate in a criminal network of drug traffickers and money launderers. The family shops were fronts for money laundering, and around the time of the action, U.S. law enforcement sources believe Cheaitilly was dating Hezbollah financier Mohamad Zoubein El Khansa.

Ahmad said she had often spent time with Cheaitilly at parties and functions at the Colombian-Arab school that her children attended. “Never would you think that this woman, as fragile as she was, would be involved in something so monstrous,” she said. “When this came out and they named the people involved, we were left thinking ‘Wow, what happened there?’”

While Ahmad and many of her Sunni friends denounce Hezbollah, many of Maicao’s minority Shiite population are in favor of the organization´s political and military objectives in their homeland.

Lebanese descendant community members may support the group ideologically, while sympathizing money launderers and terrorism financiers funnel cash back to Lebanon to support the group financially.

Ali Yalili, 35, a member of the Shiite community in Maicao, said he believes they are unfairly targeted as financiers of terrorism.

“If you are Shiite, have money and your business is going well, they make your out to be a money launderer, Hezbollah supporter, terrorist and cause you problems,” Yalili said. “Here, no one comes to fight, to be a terrorist, or to kill anyone. People come in search of their daily bread to eat, to live.””

But Many Lebanese descendants also come to Maicao to launder drug money to the tune of millions of dollars per year, according to law enforcement sources. In December 2011, Treasury named five family groups of Lebanese descent and first generation Colombians whose laundering proceeds found their way back to Hezbollah.

The way it works is a money launderer today may work for 5-10 different drug trafficking groups. Those groups in turn pay taxes or fees to terrorist groups to operate in their territories, proliferating terrorism and violence in Colombia and the Middle East. Likewise, sympathizing launderers may make sizable voluntary donations to Hezbollah.

In June 2012, Treasury named former Maicao resident Mohammed Saleh, who is believed to be a leading fundraiser for Hezbollah in Maicao. A prominent Shiite businessman and former Hezbollah fighter, Saleh and his brother Kassem were implicated by the Treasury Department as terrorism financiers. Neighboring shopkeepers on Maicao´s Tenth Street said the two fled overnight after their names and businesses were made public. The brothers remain at large, reportedly hiding in neighboring Venezuela…


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