April 4, 2024

U.S. and UK authorities impose coordinated sanctions on Hamas fundraisers

On March 27, 2024, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control took coordinated action with the United Kingdom to target financial facilitators and fundraisers for Hamas.  U.S. and UK authorities sanctioned Mustafa Ayash and Aozma Sultana for engaging in fundraising campaigns using entities that they owned and controlled.  OFAC also announced the designation of Gaza Now, an online entity founded by Ayash that he allegedly uses to raise funds for Hamas, and the designations of Al-Qureshi Executives and Aakhirah Limited, two companies for which Sultana serves as a director.  According to OFAC, the two companies associated with Sultana have partnered with Gaza Now on multiple fundraising efforts, and have given thousands of dollars to Gaza Now.

The OFAC designations were imposed pursuant to Executive Order 13224, as amended, which targets terrorist groups and their supporters.  As a result of these designations, all property and interests in property of the designated persons within the United States or within the possession or control of a U.S. person are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions involving a designated person.  Entities owned 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.

On March 27, 2024, the UK Government also reported the coordinated designations of Ayash and Sultana and announced that both designees would be subject to a full asset freeze for their suspected financial support of “terrorism-promoting media network” Gaza Now.  The sanctions were imposed under the Counter-Terrorism (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 (SI 2019/577), which also prohibit UK operators from dealing with the funds of designees or making funds, financial services, or economic resources available to them.  The UK Government also indicated that by sanctioning Sultana and Ayash as individuals, the designations extend to entities under their control, including Gaza Now, Aakhirah Limited, and Al-Qureshi Executives.

U.S. Department of Treasury Press Release | UK Government Press Release | OFSI Financial Sanctions Notice – Counter-Terrorism (Domestic)