UN adds 2 people to ISIL & Al-Qaida sanctions list

UNSCThe UN Security Council has added 2 Filipino nationals to its ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida sanctions list: Myrna Ajijul Mabanza (UN reasons for listing) and Abdulpatta Escalon Abubakar (UN reasons for listing). As a result, both individuals will be subject to asset freezes, travel bans and a prohibition to supply/sell them arms and related material. UN press release here.

OFAC sanctions “Hizballah financing network and Iranian conduit”

OFAC3Yesterday, OFAC designated “Hizballah financier” Mohammad Ibrahim Bazzi and “Hizballah’s representative to Iran” Abdallah Safi-Al-Din as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs), pursuant to Executive Order 13224. The following 5 companies were also designated as SDGTs for being owned or controlled by Mr Bazzi: Global Trading Group NV (Belgian energy services conglomerate); Euro African Group LTD (Gambia-based petroleum and petroleum products company); Africa Middle East Investment Holding SAL (Lebanon-based); Premier Investment Group SAL Offshore (Lebanon-based); and Car Escort Services S.A.L. Off Shore (CES) (Lebanon-based import/export company; also linked to another SDGT). As a result, asset freezing measures have been imposed on all individuals and companies designated in this action. See OFAC Notice and US Treasury press release.

These designations follow President Trump’s decision last week to cease US participation in the JCPOA and to reimpose US sanctions on Iran. They have been made in “furtherance of the goal of addressing the totality of Iran’s malign activities and regionally destabilizing behaviour, including that of Hizballah”, and they “complement” 3 other recent OFAC actions, see here, here and here.

US designates ‘ISIS in the Greater Sahara’ and its ‘leader’

US Department of StateYesterday, the US Department of State designated ISIS in the Greater Sahara (ISIS-GS) as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation, pursuant to s 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The Department also designated ISIS-GS and its “leader”, Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi, as Specially Designated Global Terrorists, pursuant to section 1(b) of Executive Order 13224 (asset freezes imposed).

ISIS-GS is “primarily based in Mali” and operates “along the Mali-Niger border”. The group has claimed responsibility for several attacks, including the 4 October 2017 attack on joint US-Nigerian patrol in the region of Tongo Tongo, Niger, which is said to have killed 4 US soldiers and 5 Nigerian soldiers. See OFAC Notice and US Department of State press release.

USA & Gulf States sanction Hizballah senior leadership

TerroristYesterday, the 7-member nations* of the Terrorist Financing and Targeting Center (TFTC) sanctioned 5 members of Hizballah’s Shura Council (“the primary decision-making body of Hizballah”). In particular, the following individuals were designated as Specially Designated Global Terrorists, pursuant to Executive Order 13224 (asset freezes imposed): Hasan Nasrallah (Secretary General of Hizballah), Naim Qasim, Muhammad Yazbak, Husayn Al- Khalil, and Ibrahim al-Amin al-Sayyid. See OFAC Notice and US Treasury press release.

In addition, TFTC member states also designated the following key Hizballah-affiliated individuals and entities: Talal Hamiyah, Ali Youssef Charara, Spectrum Group, Hasan Ebrahimi, Maher Trading, Hashem Safieddine, Adham Tabaja, Al-Inmaa Group, and Al-Inmaa Engineering and Contracting, all of whom were previously designated by the USA. This is the second TFTC designation action since the centre was announced in May 2017.

These designations follow President Trump’s decision to cease US participation in the JCPOA and to reimpose US sanctions on Iran. They have been made in “furtherance of the goal of addressing the totality of Iran’s malign activities and regionally destabilizing behaviour, including that of Hizballah”. Furthermore, they “complement” last week’s OFAC decision to sanction an IRGC-QF-associated currency exchange network procuring millions of dollars through the UAE (previous blog), as well as OFAC’s most recent action to sanction Iran’s Central Bank Governor and an Iraq-based bank for moving millions of dollars on behalf of the IRGC-QF to Hizballah (previous blog).

*(1) Bahrain; (2) Kuwait; (3) Oman; (4) Qatar; (5) Saudi Arabia; (6) UAE; and (7) USA

OFAC sanctions Iran’s Central Bank Governor and Iraqi Bank

US Treasury Building.jpgYesterday, OFAC designated an Iraq-based bank (Al-Bilad Islamic Bank) and 4 people as Specially Designated Global Terrorists, pursuant to Executive Order 13224, for “mov[ing] millions of dollars on behalf of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) to Hizballah”. All are now subject to asset freezing measures and secondary sanctions under the Iranian or Hizballah Financial Sanctions Regulations (prohibitions or strict conditions on the opening or maintaining in the US of a correspondent account or a payable-through account by a foreign financial institution). OFAC Notice and Treasury press release.

The 4 designated individuals are Valiollah Seif (Iran’s Central Bank Governor), Ali Tarzali (assistant director of the International Department at the Central Bank of Iran), Aras Habib Kareem (Chairman and Chief Executive of Al-Bilad Islamic Bank), and Muhammad Qasir (Hizballah official).

The designations of Mr Seif and Mr Tarzali do not extend to the Central Bank of Iran.  However, due to President Trump’s decision to cease US participation in the JCPOA, as of 7 August 2018, the US will re-impose sanctions that extend to certain transactions with the Central Bank of Iran, including sanctions on the purchase or acquisition of US dollar banknotes by the Government of Iran. Furthermore, on 5 November 2018, additional sanctions will be re-imposed on persons knowingly engaging in certain significant transactions with the Central Bank of Iran.

Last week, OFAC sanctioned an IRGC-QF-associated currency exchange network procuring millions of dollars through the UAE (previous blog).

OFAC sanctions Philippines-based ‘ISIS facilitator’

Logo_of_the_U.S._Office_of_Foreign_Assets_Control_(OFAC)OFAC has designated Philippines-based Myrna Ajijul Mabanza as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT), pursuant to Executive Order 13224, for “provid[ing] support to ISIS-Philippines” (asset freeze imposed). Links to OFAC Notice and US Treasury press release.

OFSI renews TAFA designation

OFSI1.jpegThe UK Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) has renewed the terrorist listing of Mohammed Fawaz Khaled under the Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc. Act 2010 (TAFA). He was assessed as having “left the UK and travelled to Syria to engage in Islamist extremist activities on behalf of ISIL”, with his current whereabouts “now in Turkey”.

The OFSI Notice explains that his renewed designation may be appealed to the High Court (or, in Scotland, to the Court of Session) under section 26 of TAFA.

US sanctions 7 officials associated with Lashkar-e Tayyiba

US Flag3.jpgOFAC and the US Department of State have amended the FTO and SDGT designations of Pakistan-based “terrorist group” Lashkar-e Tayyiba to include the aliases ‘Milli Muslim League’ (MML) and ‘Tehreek-e-Azadi-e-Kashmir’. Links to Department of State press release and OFAC Notice.

OFAC has also designated 7 members of the “MML central leadership body” as SDGTs under Executive Order 13224 (asset freezes imposed), namely: Saifullah Khalid; Muzammil Iqbal Hashimi; Muhammad Harris Dar; Tabish Qayyuum; Fayyaz Ahmad; Faisal Nadeem; and Muhammad Ehsan. Links to OFAC Notice and Treasury press release.