Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action against two individuals and two companies based in Lebanon for providing financial services to Hizballah, along with an additional individual involved in facilitating weapons procurement for Hizballah. These designations target individuals and companies that manage and enable Hizballah’s overarching financial apparatus operating throughout Lebanon, including Al-Qard Al-Hassan (AQAH) and Hizballah’s Central Finance Unit. U.S.-designated AQAH is Hizballah’s quasi-financial institution, and Hizballah’s Central Finance Unit oversees the terrorist group’s budget within Hizballah’s Executive Council at the direction of Hizballah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah.
“The individuals and companies being designated today have enabled Hizballah’s financial apparatus operating throughout Lebanon,” said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “Their public personae as financial professionals and institutions is just another way Hizballah hides its abuse of the financial system to support its destabilizing agenda.”
Today’s action also underscores how Hizballah remains, at its core, a terrorist organization determined to procure weapons that undermine Lebanon’s security and stability even as the country suffers a dire financial crisis. OFAC is designating these targets pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, which targets terrorists, terrorist organizations, leaders and officials of terrorist groups, and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism.
Adel Mohamad Mansour (Mansour)
Mansour is being designated for his position as the leader of AQAH, a U.S.-designated Hizballah-run quasi-financial institution. Mansour has served as the Executive Director of AQAH for years. In addition to his role within AQAH, Mansour has used his personal bank accounts to conduct transactions with various Hizballah institutions.
Al-Khobara for Accounting, Auditing, and Studies (Al-Khobara)
Al-Khobara is being designated for being owned, controlled, or directed by Mansour, who serves as the company’s CEO. Al-Khobara is located in the AQAH building, has provided accounting services to AQAH, and was managed by senior AQAH officials, including Mansour. Other senior officials at Al-Khobara include U.S.-designated senior Hizballah official Hussein al-Shami, who previously headed AQAH and another U.S.-designated Hizballah financial institution, Bayt al-Mal, as well as Ahmad Yazbeck, who was designated in May 2021 for acting for or on behalf of AQAH. For years, Hizballah financial elements have assisted Al-Khobara employees in dealing with Lebanon’s Ministry of Finance regarding tax payments.
Auditors for Accounting and Auditing (Auditors)
Auditors is being designated for being owned, controlled, or directed by Ibrahim Daher (Daher). Daher, who was designated in May 2021 for acting on behalf of Hizballah in his capacity as the chief of Hizballah’s Central Finance Unit, is a majority owner and managing partner of this company and has held a senior managerial function within the company for years. Additionally, Auditors provides financial services to Hizballah’s Central Finance Unit.
Naser Hasan Neser (Neser)
Neser is being designated for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of Auditors. Neser managed Auditors along with Daher. Neser was a managing partner at Auditors, held minority ownership in the company, and was listed as an authorized signatory, manager, and legal representative of the company. In addition, Neser reports to senior Hizballah Executive Council and Central Finance Unit officials, including Daher, about the activities of Auditors.
Hassan Khalil (Khalil)
Khalil is being designated for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Hizballah. Khalil, a Lebanese national, has been actively working to procure weapons on behalf of Hizballah.
As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of these persons, which are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked. OFAC regulations generally prohibit all dealings by U.S. persons or within the United States (including transactions transiting the United States) that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons.
In addition, persons that engage in certain transactions with the persons designated today may themselves be exposed to sanctions or subject to an enforcement action. Furthermore, unless an exception applies, any foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates a significant transaction or provides significant financial services for any of the targets designated today could be subject to U.S. sanctions.
Additionally, Adel Mohamad Mansour, Al-Khobara for Accounting, Auditing, and Studies, Auditors for Accounting and Auditing, and Naser Hasan Neser, are subject to the Hizballah Financial Sanctions Regulations, which implement the Hizballah International Financing Prevention Act of 2015, as amended by the Hizballah International Financing Prevention Amendments Act of 2018. Pursuant to these authorities, 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, among other things, knowingly facilitates a significant transaction for Hizballah or certain persons designated for their connection to Hizballah.
The power and integrity of OFAC sanctions derive not only from OFAC’s ability to designate and add persons to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List), but also from its willingness to remove persons from the SDN List consistent with the law. The ultimate goal of sanctions is not to punish but rather to bring about a positive change in behavior. For information concerning the process for seeking removal from an OFAC list, including the SDN List, please refer to OFAC’s Frequently Asked Question 897. For detailed information on the process to submit a request for removal from an OFAC sanctions list, please refer to OFAC’s website.