September 17, 2020
The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on a Hezbollah official and two Lebanon-based companies it accused of being linked to the Iran-backed group.
The new wave of sanctions comes as Lebanon is passing through its worst economic and financial crisis in decades. The country is also facing a political deadlock amid delays in the formation of a new cabinet because of a portfolio dispute.
The US Treasury Department said in a statement that it blacklisted Arch Consulting and Meamar Construction, two Lebanon-based companies it said were leveraged by Hezbollah to conceal money transfers to the group’s own accounts, helping to enrich its leadership.
Also hit with sanctions was Sultan Khalifah As’ad, who the Treasury said is a senior Hezbollah Executive Council official.
“Through Hezbollah’s exploitation of the Lebanese economy and manipulation of corrupt Lebanese officials, companies associated with the terrorist organization are awarded government contracts,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the statement.
“The United States remains committed to targeting Hezbollah and its supporters as they corruptly abuse Lebanese resources to enrich their leaders while the Lebanese people suffer from inadequate services,” he added.
The action freezes any US assets of those blacklisted and generally bars Americans from dealing with them. Those than engage in certain transactions with those designated are also at risk of being hit with secondary sanctions, the Treasury said.
Thursday’s move follows US action this month that blacklisted two former Lebanese cabinet ministers allied with Hezbollah — the ex-finance minister, Ali Hassan Khalil, currently an Amal movement lawmaker, and the former public works and transportation minister, Youssef Fenianos.