Washington – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action against a network of smugglers contributing to instability in Libya. OFAC designated Libyan national Faysal al-Wadi (Wadi), operator of the vessel Maraya; two associates, Musbah Mohamad M Wadi (Musbah) and Nourddin Milood M Musbah (Nourddin); and the Malta-based company, Alwefaq Ltd, pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13726. Additionally, the vessel Maraya was identified as blocked property.
“Faysal al-Wadi and his associates have smuggled fuel from Libya and used Libya as a transit zone to smuggle illicit drugs,” said Deputy Secretary Justin G. Muzinich. “The United States is committed to exposing illicit networks exploiting Libya’s resources for their own profit while hurting the Libyan people.”
Wadi has worked with a network of contacts in North Africa and southern Europe to smuggle fuel from, and illicit drugs through, Libya to Malta. Competition for control of smuggling routes, oil facilities, and transport nodes is a key driver of conflict in Libya and deprives the Libyan people of economic resources. Wadi’s illicit trafficking operation transported drugs between the Libyan port of Zuwarah and Hurd’s Bank, just outside Malta’s territorial waters. Hurd’s Bank is a well-known geographic transfer location for illicit maritime transactions. Wadi also smuggled drugs and Libyan fuel into Malta itself. Wadi has kept all official documentation clear of his name, while being the primary organizer of smuggling operations using the vessel Maraya.
OFAC designated Wadi pursuant to E.O. 13726 for being responsible for or complicit in, or for having engaged in, directly or indirectly, actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, or stability of Libya, including through the supply of arms or related materiel. Wadi is also being designated pursuant to E.O. 13726 for being involved in, or for having been involved in, the illicit exploitation of crude oil or any other natural resources in Libya, including the illicit production, refining, brokering, sale, purchase, or export of Libyan oil.
OFAC designated both Musbah and Nourddin pursuant to E.O. 13726 for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, logistical, or technological support for, or goods or services in support of, actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, or stability of Libya, including through the supply of arms or related materiel.
OFAC designated Alwefaq Ltd pursuant to E.O. 13726 for being owned or controlled by, or for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, Musbah. OFAC also designated Alwefaq Ltd pursuant to E.O. 13726 for being owned or controlled by, or for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, Nourddin. Finally, OFAC identified the Maraya as blocked property in which Alwefaq Ltd has an interest.
As a result of today’s actions, all property and interests in property of these persons, including the identified vessel, that are in or come within the United States or are in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC. Unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC or otherwise exempt, OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or those within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated persons.
For additional information about trends related to illicit shipping and sanctions risks, including deceptive shipping practices, please refer to the advisory “Guidance to Address Illicit Shipping and Sanctions Evasion Practices” issued by the Department of the Treasury, Department of State, and United States Coast Guard on May 14, 2020.