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US imposes sanctions on alleged Africa-based Hezbollah members




Source: The Daily Star – The U.S. Treasury Department has imposed sanctions on an alleged Africa-based Hezbollah support network, a statement released Thursday said.

It said the Treasury targeted Mustapha Fawaz, Fouzi Fawaz and Abdallah Tahini, all of whom are Lebanese-born men based in Nigeria, with sanctions designations.

The Treasury also placed sanctions on a holding company, a supermarket and an amusement park in Nigeria controlled by the Fawaz brothers.

In the a statement released Thursday, Adam Szubin, acting undersecretary of Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, said the U.S. “will track Hezbollah’s illicit activities to all corners of the Earth.”

“Wherever this terrorist group may seek to raise funds, we will target and expose its activity,” added the statement.

The United States considers Hezbollah a terrorist organization.

The statement alleged that Mustapha Fawaz has been “a significant donor” to Hezbollah, and that he had solicited donations in Abuja, Nigeria, helping transfer them to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Mustapha was detained in mid-May 2013 by Nigerian authorities, where he reportedly confessed the details of his activities and named other Nigeria-based members of the Hezbollah-affiliated Islamic Jihad Organization, Treasury said.

The Treasury also alleged that Mustapha’s brother Fouzi is a member of a Hezbollah cell in Nigeria. He was also an official with Hezbollah’s foreign relations department, the primary goal of which, according to Treasury, is to scout recruits and to support the group’s infrastructure for its operational units. In 2013, Nigerian authorities issued an arrest warrant for him, Treasury said.

Tahini was targeted with sanctions after being arrested in May 2013 for being a member of a Hezbollah cell in Nigeria, the statement said. Mustapha Fawaz and Tahini were both released from custody in late-November 2013 after being cleared of terrorism charges.

They both have denied allegations against them.

Separately Thursday, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control lifted sanctions on Youssef Nada, and six companies formerly affiliated with him. Nada, who was placed under terrorism sanctions in November 2001, submitted a delisting petition to OFAC in July 2012, a Treasury spokeswoman said.

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