In the latest series of sanctions by the U.S. Treasury to destabilize Hezbollah and its global network of funding, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) just designated two prominent Lebanese businessmen: Ali Saade and Ibrahim Taher.
OFAC said they are important Hezbollah financiers in Guinea conducting “illicit financial activities” and transferring funds to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
The designations under the Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended, aim to destabilize the business network of Hezbollah in West Africa, and its activities of persistently threatening “the security, stability, and prosperity of Lebanon and other jurisdictions.”
OFAC indicated that Hezbollah has various sources of funding in the world, including profitable commercial activities, which the Iran-backed Lebanese party allegedly uses to “sponsor acts of terrorism.”
This new move is part of the ongoing efforts by the US Treasury to cripple Hezbollah’s global network of allies and financial supporters.
The newly-sanctioned Lebanese businessmen Ali Saade and Ibrahim Tahermare now under the US Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended, “for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Hezbollah.”
Ali Saade was found to continuously transfer funds from Guinea to Hezbollah in Lebanon. He’s also closely connected with another financial supporter of Hezbollah, Kassem Tajideen, who is also designated by OFAC since 2019.
“At the time of his designation, Tajideen had contributed tens of millions of dollars to Hezbollah and ran cover companies for Hezbollah in Africa with his brothers,” OFAC said.
Tajideen had Ali Saade as his primary political contact in Guinea giving him unrestricted access to high-ranked corrupt officials in the West-African country.
Saade would have also advised Tajideen on how to make financial transfers to successfully circumvent detection by regulators.
OFAC identified Ibrahim Taher, an Honorary Consul of Lebanon to Cote d’Ivoire, “as one of the most prominent financial supporters of Hezbollah in Guinea.”
He reportedly used his diplomatic status to travel back and forth to Guinea with little to no scrutiny. OFAC accuses him of collecting US dollars with an associate “at one of their commercial facilities” and sending the funds to Conakry Airport” as well as bribing “Guinean customs officials to allow their currency to pass in luggage.”
The imposed sanctions will bring a freeze on all transactions related to all owned properties and interests in property of Ali Saade and Ibrahim Taher, including those partly or indirectly owned by them, in the United States, and/or in the possession or control of U.S. citizens.
Money transactions by U.S. nationals or within the United States, including transactions transiting the U.S. that involve Saade and Taher will be also prohibited and blocked.
The prohibitions will be also implemented on contributions to, for, and from them, including goods, and services.
Those engaging with the designated in any transactions will also incur secondary sanctions. That includes imposing strict conditions or a ban on bank accounts in foreign financial institutions.