New OFAC designations

OFAC has published several new designations under its counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics sanctions regimes.


OFAC has designated Fadi Serhan and Adel Cherri as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT) for their alleged role as significant procurement facilitators for Hizballah, as well as their respective companies Vatech SARL and Le-Hua Electronics Field Co. Limited.  OFAC has also designated two companies owned or controlled by Ali Zeaiter, who is already designated as a SDGT for being a procurement agent for Hizballah – Aero Skyone Co. Limited and Labico SAL Offshore.

Fadi Serhan is said to have used his company to purchase sensitive equipment for Hizballah, including UAVs and electronic equipment from companies in the US, EU, Asia, and the Middle East, and Adel Cherri allegedly procured sensitive dual-use technologies from Asia on behalf of Hizballah, as well as facilitating Hizballah’s efforts to procure electronics from China for use in improvised explosive devices by Houthi rebels in Yemen.  Ali Zeater is said to have used his company Aero Skyone to procure UAV equipment from Europe and Asia for Hizballah.  When he was first designated, OFAC alleged that Zeater used false end-user certificates, mislabelled air waybills, and other fraudulent methods to avoid export restrictions and otherwise conceal that Hizballah was the ultimate end-user of goods he exported.

Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Adam Szubin stated that the action “highlights Hizballah’s exploitation of the commercial sector to support its military capabilities and facilitate acts of terrorism”.

OFAC’s press release is here.


OFAC has designated Victor Mosquera Perez and Alveiro Feo Alvarado, said to be members of the drug trafficking organisation Los Urabeños, as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers (SDNT), in addition to two Colombian companies controlled by Mosquera Perez.  Los Urabeños is said by OFAC to be the largest criminal group operating in Colombia, and is organised as a network of small, loosely affiliated groups, that engage in cocaine and arms trafficking, money laundering, extortion, and drug debt collection.  Several members of the group use go-fast vessel operations to traffic drugs between Colombia and various locations in Central American and Mexico, and it has recently sought to extend its drug trafficking and money laundering operations to Europe.

In its press release, OFAC states that Mosquera Perez is involved in controlling narcotics trafficking operations for Los Urabeños from Colombia to Europe, and that Feo Alvarado is a financial chief for the organisation who has been involved in making alliances with FARC and rival drug trafficking organisation Los Rastrojos.  The two designated companies, controlled by Mosqueta Perez, are mining company De Expomineria SAS and jewellery business Joyeria MVK.

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About Michael O'Kane

Michael O’Kane is a partner and Head of the Business Crime team at leading UK firm Peters & Peters. Described as ‘first-rate’ (Legal 500 2012), he “draws glowing praise from commentators” (Chambers 2013) for handling the international aspects of business crime, including sanctions, extradition and mutual legal assistance. Called to the Bar in 1992 and prior to joining Peters & Peters he was a senior specialist prosecutor at the Crown Prosecution Service Headquarters(CPS). At CPS HQ he was a key member of a small specialist unit responsible for the prosecution of serious and high profile fraud, terrorist and special interest criminal matters including the Stansted Airport Afghan hijacking and the prosecution of Paul Burrell (Princess Diana’s butler). Michael joined Peters & Peters in 2002. He became a partner in May 2004, and Head of the Business Crime team in May 2009. Since joining Peters & Peters, Michael has dealt with a wide range of business crime matters. He has particular expertise in international sanctions, criminal cartels, extradition, corruption, mutual legal assistance, and FSA investigations. Described as“ an influential practitioner in fraud and regulatory work, so much so that he is top of the referral lists of many City firms for independent advice for directors” (The Lawyer’s Hot 100 2009), he was recognised as one of the UK’s most innovative lawyers in the 2011 FT Innovative Lawyer Awards and included in the list of the UK's leading lawyers in 'The International Who's Who of Asset Recovery 2012. In 2012 he was the winner of the Global Competition Review Article of the Year. Michael regularly appears on television and radio to discuss his specialist areas and he is the author of the leading textbook on the UK Criminal Cartel Offence “The Law of Criminal Cartels-Practice and Procedure” (Oxford University Press 2009). Recent/Current Sanctions Work • Representing 109 individuals and 12 companies subject to designation by the European Council under targeted measures imposed against Zimbabwe. This is the largest and most complex collective challenge to a sanctions listing ever brought before the European Court. • Acting for a former Egyptian Minister and his UK resident wife, challenging their designation by the European Council of Ministers under targeted measures brought against former members of the Egyptian Government. • Advising a company accused in a UN investigation report to have breached UN sanctions imposed in relation to Somalia. • Advising a UK company in relation to ongoing commercial relationships with an Iranian company listed under both EU and UN sanctions. • Advising an individual in relation to a UK investigation for alleging breaching nuclear export controls.

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