On May 19, 2022, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated Lebanese businessman Ahmad Jalal Reda Abdallah and his network of 5 individuals and 8 entities located in Lebanon and Iraq, for being financial facilitators for Hizballah, a group that was designated in the US as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 1997 and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) in 2001. OFAC reports that Abdallah and his team have worked for decades establishing and operating seemingly legitimate businesses, including medical equipment factories, insurance companies, and food companies, that donate a portion of their profits to fund Hizballah and its terrorist activities. According to OFAC, Abdallah also coordinates business activities and budgets with previously sanctioned Hizballah financial facilitators including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which has also helped Abdullah facilitate financial transfers for his businesses.
The designations were made by OFAC pursuant to EO 13224, as amended, which targets terrorists, those who support acts of terrorism, and persons blocked under EO 13224. Abdullah was designated for acting for or on behalf of Hizballah, and the network’s team members and entities were designated for either supporting Abdullah or being an entity owned or controlled by a person designated under EO 13224.
As a result of these designations, all property and interests in property of these designees within the United States or within the possession or control of a US person are blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions involving the designated persons. In addition, entities owned fifty percent or more by one or more designated persons are also blocked. Pursuant to EO 13224, as amended, foreign financial institutions that engage in certain transactions with today’s designees risk exposure to secondary sanctions. OFAC can also prohibit or restrict the opening or maintenance of US correspondent accounts or payable-through accounts by foreign financial institutions that knowingly facilitate any significant transactions on behalf of a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT).