Washington – The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action today to disrupt Hizballah’s financial support networks by designating Muhammad ‘Abdallah al-Amin (al-Amin) as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224. OFAC designated al-Amin for providing material support to Hizballah insider and financier Adham Husayn Tabaja (Tabaja). In addition to al-Amin, OFAC designated seven Lebanon-based companies that are owned or controlled by al-Amin: Sierra Gas S.A.L. Offshore, Lama Foods S.A.R.L., Lama Foods International Offshore S.A.L., Impulse S.A.R.L., Impulse International S.A.L. Offshore, M. Marine S.A.L. Offshore, and Thaingui S.A.L. Offshore.
“Hizballah is an Iranian-proxy, and this Administration is focused on exposing and disrupting its terrorist funding networks. We are exerting extraordinary pressure on Hizballah financiers like Tabaja to halt their pernicious activities in Lebanon and beyond,” said Sigal Mandelker, Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. “Our action should serve as a warning that we will impose consequences on anyone engaging in business relationships with al-Amin or other Hizballah support networks. Treasury has taken more actions against Hizballah this year than ever before, and we are fully committed to shutting down this terrorist network.”
Calendar year 2018 marks the highest number of Hizballah-related designations by OFAC in a single year. The designation of al-Amin and his companies builds upon additional actions taken in February 2018 targeting the Tabaja network operating in West Africa and Lebanon. OFAC designated Tabaja on June 6, 2015, for acting for or on behalf of Hizballah. Tabaja maintains direct ties to senior Hizballah officials and Hizballah’s operational component, the Islamic Jihad, which is responsible for planning, coordinating, and executing Hizballah’s terrorist attacks worldwide. Tabaja also holds properties in Lebanon on behalf of Hizballah.
All property and interests in property of those persons designated today that are subject to U.S. jurisdiction are now blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.
Muhammad ‘Abdallah al-Amin
Al-Amin was designated for assisting in, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for, or financial or other services to or in support of, Tabaja.
Al-Amin conceals funds for Tabaja, and Tabaja has held a significant amount of funds in al-Amin’s name at a Lebanese bank. Al-Amin has also served as a liaison between Tabaja and banking officials and has assisted Tabaja in circumventing the impact of sanctions.
In addition to his direct support to Tabaja, al-Amin has been involved in financial activities with Muhammad Fallah Kallas, whom OFAC designated on October 20, 2016, for providing financial services to or in support of Tabaja through his work for Tabaja’s company, Al-Inmaa Engineering and Contracting (Al-Inmaa). Moreover, al-Amin has business relationships with Ali Muhammad Qansu and Jihad Muhammad Qansu, whom OFAC designated on February 2, 2018, for acting for or on behalf of Tabaja and Tabaja’s company, Al-Inmaa, respectively.
Lebanon-based companies Sierra Gas S.A.L. Offshore, Lama Foods S.A.R.L., Lama Foods International Offshore S.A.L., Impulse S.A.R.L., Impulse International S.A.L. Offshore, M. Marine S.A.L. Offshore, and Thaingui S.A.L. Offshore.
All seven entities were designated for being owned or controlled by al-Amin.
Al-Amin is a founder, majority shareholder, and the chairman of Sierra Gas S.A.L. Offshore, a provider of gas field services; Lama Foods International Offshore S.A.L., a food importer and distributor; Impulse International S.A.L. Offshore, a general merchandise distributor; M. Marine S.A.L. Offshore, a general merchandise distributor; and Thaingui S.A.L. Offshore. Al-Amin also holds a majority ownership stake in, and is the general manager of, Lama Foods S.A.R.L., a food import and trade company. Additionally, al-Amin is a founder, the majority shareholder, and the managing director of Impulse S.A.R.L., an advertising company.
The seven companies designated today should not be viewed as an exhaustive list of companies owned or controlled by al-Amin, and the regulated community remains responsible for conducting necessary due diligence and maintaining compliance with OFAC’s 50 percent rule.
Additionally, al-Amin and the seven entities designated today are subject to secondary sanctions pursuant to the Hizballah Financial Sanctions Regulations, which implements the Hizballah International Financing Prevention Act of 2015. Pursuant to this authority, OFAC can prohibit or impose strict conditions on the opening or maintaining in the United States of a correspondent account or a payable-through account by a foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates a significant transaction for Hizballah, or a person acting on behalf of or at the direction of, or owned or controlled by, Hizballah.