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US announces new Hezbollah-related sanctions on Lebanese businessmen, companies

“Hezbollah has built a web of businesses to hide its activities and generate funds for its destabilizing activities, all at the expense of accountability and public safety in Lebanon and the region,” a senior Treasury Department official said.

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The US sanctioned several Lebanese individuals and companies on Thursday for their work to facilitate funds to the Iran-backed Hezbollah.

Ahmad Jalal Reda Abdallah and five of his associates were designated, along with eight of Abdallah’s companies in Lebanon and Iraq.

“This action illuminates Hezbollah’s modus operandi of using the cover of seemingly legitimate businesses to generate revenue and leverage commercial investments across a multitude of sectors to secretly fund Hezbollah and its terrorist activities,” the Treasury Department said in a statement.

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Hezbollah was designated a terrorist organization by the US in 1997. Several European and Gulf nations followed suit years later.

The Treasury Department accused Hezbollah of establishing companies with “opaque ownership structure” to conceal their involvement in the businesses. The US also said Hezbollah was hiding its participation in companies to hide its role in criminal activities such as altering medication labels for black market pharmaceutical sales.

“Hezbollah has built a web of businesses to hide its activities and generate funds for its destabilizing activities, all at the expense of accountability and public safety in Lebanon and the region,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson.

But the Treasury Department official said Washington was committed to protecting Lebanon’s financial system and its private sector from Hezbollah’s abuse.

State Department Spokesman Ned Price also said Hezbollah was disguising its ownership in companies. “Through actions like those carried out today, we continue to counter Hezbollah’s exploitation of businesses to fund its terrorist activities and its efforts to destabilize Lebanon and the wider region,” Price said.

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