WASHINGTON (JTA) — For the first time since the passage of a law targeting money flowing to Hezbollah, a financier of the terrorist organization and his company have been sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department.
All U.S.-based assets of Ali Youssef Charara and Spectrum Investment Group Holding SAL, a telecommunications company Charara chairs, were frozen as of Tuesday, the U.S. Treasury reported. Charara, according to the Treasury, received millions of dollars from the Lebanon-based Hezbollah to invest in commercial projects that financially benefit the group.
The Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act of 2015 was passed last month.
Charara also has worked on oil ventures in Iraq with Hezbollah member Adham Tabaja and Hezbollah financial supporter Kassem Hejeij, both of whom were sanctioned last year by the Treasury.
“Hezbollah relies upon accomplices in the business community to place, manage and launder its terrorist funds,” Adam Szubin, acting under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement. “We are committed to exposing and disrupting these networks to pressure Hezbollah’s finances and degrade its ability to foment violence in Lebanon, Syria and across the region.”
Since October 2001, Hezbollah has been declared a “specially designated global terrorist” by the U.S. State Department.