Action Targets Significant Transnational Criminal Organization Responsible for Laundering Illicit Funds for Terrorists, Drug Traffickers, and Criminal Groups Worldwide
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control today designated the Altaf Khanani Money Laundering Organization (Khanani MLO) pursuant to Executive Order 13581, which targets transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) and their supporters. The Khanani MLO launders illicit funds for organized crime groups, drug trafficking organizations, and designated terrorist groups throughout the world.
Additionally, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is today designating Dubai-based money services business Al Zarooni Exchange under Executive Order (E.O.) 13581 for being owned or controlled by, or acting for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the Khanani MLO, and for materially assisting, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, the Khanani MLO. As a result of today’s action, any property in the United States, or in the possession or control of U.S. persons, in which the Khanani MLO or Al Zarooni Exchange has an interest, are blocked, and U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.
The Khanani MLO is the sixth significant TCO targeted under E.O. 13581 and today’s action marks the first time that OFAC is targeting a professional money laundering network under E.O. 13581. The Khanani MLO engages in third-party money laundering by transferring funds to financial institutions on behalf of drug traffickers and TCOs. Today’s designations highlight the importance of dismantling the extended financial infrastructure of TCOs and their supporters.
“The Khanani Money Laundering Organization exploits its relationships with financial institutions to funnel billions of dollars across the globe on behalf of terrorists, drug traffickers, and criminal organizations,” said Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Adam J. Szubin. “Today’s action hinders the Khanani Money Laundering Organization from gaining access to the international financial system to launder money for these illicit actors.”
The Khanani MLO is a TCO composed of individuals and entities operating under the supervision of Pakistani national Altaf Khanani, who the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) arrested this September. The Khanani MLO facilitates illicit money movement between Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and other countries, and is responsible for laundering billions of dollars in organized crime proceeds annually. The Khanani MLO offers money laundering services to a diverse clientele, including Chinese, Colombian, and Mexican organized crime groups and individuals associated with Hizballah. The Khanani MLO has also laundered funds for designated terrorist organizations. Altaf Khanani, the head of the Khanani MLO, and Al Zarooni Exchange have been involved in the movement of funds for the Taliban, and Altaf Khanani is known to have had relationships with Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Dawood Ibrahim, al-Qa’ida, and Jaish-e-Mohammed.
OFAC closely coordinated with the DEA; the Australian Federal Police; the Australian Crime Commission; and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, National Targeting Center to execute today’s action.
DEA Miami Field Division Special Agent in Charge Adolphus P Wright stated, “DEA arrested Altaf Khanani on September 11, 2015 pursuant to a grand jury sealed indictment. The DEA’s arrest of Khanani, who is a major international money launderer for multiple transnational criminal organizations as well as designated terrorist groups across the globe, and the Treasury’s designation of his money laundering organization today, reiterates the U.S. government’s commitment to targeting the world’s top criminals, including those who blur the line between drug trafficking, terrorism, and organized crime.”
The designation of Al Zarooni Exchange complements an action taken earlier this week by the Central Bank of the UAE with assistance from the Anti-Money Laundering Unit at Dubai Police General Headquarters, who were closely coordinating with the DEA prior to the action. The U.S. Government welcomes this action taken by the Government of the UAE and commends the UAE for taking action to combat the risks posed to the UAE and international financial system by these illicit financial operators. We look forward to further opportunities to collaborate with the UAE on combating money laundering.
For identifying information regarding the individuals designated today, click here.
Use featured image