On July 27, 2023, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control designated Abdiweli Mohamed Yusuf as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (“SDGT”). OFAC reports that Yusuf has served, since at least 2019, as the head of the finance office of the Somalia-based affiliate of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (“ISIS-Somalia”) and has played a key role in the delivery of foreign fighters, supplies, and ammunition on behalf of ISIS-Somalia. Yusuf is also allegedly responsible, in part, for managing revenues generated by ISIS-Somalia and facilitating transfers for ISIS. According to OFAC, ISIS-Somalia receives hundreds of thousands of dollars per month from the extortion of financial intuitions, mobile money service providers, and other local businesses located primarily in the Port of Bosaso in the Bari region of Somalia. Yusuf was designated by OFAC pursuant to EO 13224, as amended, for having acted for or on behalf of ISIS-Somalia.
According to OFAC, this action builds upon the previous designations of a transnational network of ISIS-Somalia weapons traffickers and senior members of the terrorist group in November 2022. It also follows US military action that targeted and killed Suhayl Salim Abd El-Rahman (a/k/a Bilal al-Sudani), a Somalia-based ISIS leader, in January 2023.
As a result of this designation, all property and interests in property of the designee 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 50 percent or more by a designated person or entity are also blocked, and foreign financial institutions that knowingly conduct significant transactions for the designated entities risk exposure to sanctions.