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Friday, June 14, 2024

Treasury Targets Qods Force, Houthi, and Hizballah Finance and Trade Facilitators

WASHINGTON — Today, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is sanctioning six entities, one individual and two tankers that are based or registered in Liberia, India, Vietnam, Lebanon, and Kuwait that have engaged in facilitating commodity shipments and financial transactions for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF), the Houthis, and Hizballah. This action, the sixth round of sanctions targeting the network of Iran-based, IRGC-QF-backed Houthi financial facilitator Sa’id al-Jamal since December 2023, represents yet another step in a concerted campaign to disrupt IRGC-QF finances and its support to terrorist proxies such as the Houthis. 

“Treasury remains resolute in our commitment to deploy our tools against those who seek to fund the illicit activities of the IRGC-QF and its destabilizing proxy groups,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “The United States will continue to take action to disrupt the abuse of international energy markets to facilitate terrorist activities.” 

Today’s action is being taken pursuant to the counterterrorism authority Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended. OFAC designated Sa’id al-Jamal pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, on June 10, 2021, for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, the IRGC-QF. The IRGC-QF was designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 on October 25, 2007, for providing support to multiple terrorist groups. The U.S. Department of State designation of Ansarallah (commonly known as the Houthis) as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist group, pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, became effective February 16, 2024.

HOUTHI AND IRGC-QF COMMODITY SHIPMENTS

The Sa’id al-Jamal network uses a web of companies and vessels to facilitate shipments of Iranian commodities through forged shipping documents and other deceptive practices. Liberia-based Hassaleh International Company,the registered owner of the Panama-flagged DAWN II (IMO 9185530), formerly known as the SPAR and AKIN I, worked with Sa’id al-Jamal and his business partner Abdi Nasir Ali Mahamud to ship Iranian commodities to the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The Sa’id al-Jamal network coordinated with India-based KNH Shipping Private Limited, also known as KNH Global Private Limited, to procure forged shipping documents to obfuscate the origin of the commodities onboard the DAWN II. KNH Shipping Private Limited has provided extensive services to the Sa’id al-Jamal network through the provision of forged shipping documents and brokering and managing vessels for the network’s use.  

The Sa’id al-Jamal network has similarly used the Palau-flagged ABYSS (IMO: 9157765) to ship Iranian commodities to the PRC. Like the DAWN II, the ABYSS utilized forged shipping documents to disguise the Iranian origin of its cargo. The ABYSS is owned by Vietnam-based Quoc Viet Marine Transport JSC and operated by India-based Melody Shipmanagement Pvt Ltd

Hassaleh International Company, KNH Shipping Private Limited, and Quoc Viet Marine Transport JSC are being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Sa’id al-Jamal. Melody Shipmanagement Pvt Ltd is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Quoc Viet Marine Transport JSC.  

The DAWN II is being identified as property in which Hassaleh International Company has an interest. The ABYSS is being identified as property in which Quoc Viet Marine Transport JSC has an interest.  

HIZBALLAH AND HOUTHI FINANCIAL FACILITATOR

Lebanon-based Syrian money exchanger Tawfiq Muhammad Sa’id al-Law (al-Law) provided Hizballah with digital wallets to receive funds from IRGC-QF commodity sales, as well as to conduct cryptocurrency transfers on behalf of the sanctioned Syrian Qatirji Company. Al-Law has similarly conducted cryptocurrency transfers for sanctioned Hizballah officials, including Muhammad Ja’far Qasir and Muhammad Qasim al-Bazzal, and has provided financial services to Sa’id al-Jamal and his network. 

Al-Law used two Kuwait-based companies, Orchidia Regional for General Trading and Contracting Company and Mass Com Group General Trading and Contracting Company WLL, to transfer money for the purchase of goods supporting Sa’id al-Jamal’s network.

Tawfiq Muhammad Sa’id al-Law is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Hizballah. Orchidia Regional for General Trading and Contracting Company and Mass Com Group General Trading and Contracting Company WLL are being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, al-Law.

SANCTIONS IMPLICATIONS

As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the designated persons described above that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked. Unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, or exempt, OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons. 

In addition, financial institutions and other persons that engage in certain transactions or activities with the sanctioned entities and individuals may expose themselves to sanctions or be subject to an enforcement action. The prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any designated person, or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person. 

The power and integrity of OFAC sanctions derive not only from OFAC’s ability to designate and add persons to the SDN List, but also from its willingness to remove persons from the SDN List consistent with the law. The ultimate goal of sanctions is not to punish, but to bring about a positive change in behavior. For information concerning the process for seeking removal from an OFAC list, including the SDN List, please refer toOFAC’s Frequently Asked Question 897 here. For detailed information on the process to submit a request for removal from an OFAC sanctions list, please click here.

Click here for more information on the individuals and entities designated today.

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Official news published at https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy2209

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