The US Treasury has imposed sanctions on two Lebanon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)-based money launderers and their affiliated companies, accusing them of having links to Hezbollah and generating millions of dollars for the group.
The actions on Friday targeted Lebanon-based Nazem Said Ahmad and DRC-based Saleh Assi.
“Ahmad, who has a vast art collection, is one of Hezballah’s top donors, generating funds through his longstanding ties to the “blood diamond” trade. Treasury is also taking action against DRC-based Saleh Assi who has laundered money through Ahmad’s diamond businesses,” a statement from the US Treasury read.
“Hezbollah continues to use seemingly legitimate businesses as front companies to raise and launder funds in countries like the DRC where it can use bribery and political connections to secure unfair market access and evade taxes,” said US Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.
“This Administration will continue to take action against Hezbollah financiers like Nazem Said Ahmad and Saleh Assi, who have used money laundering and tax evasion schemes to fund terrorist plots and finance their own lavish lifestyles as the Lebanese people suffer.”
The move comes at a time when a US official confirmed to Al Arabiya that US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale is expected to visit Beirut next week.
The official said that Hale will carry a message from Washington to Lebanese officials that the US will not provide financial support to Lebanon until after the formation of a government that responds to the demands of the Lebanese people.