U.S could sanction corrupt politicians, says Schenker

Speaking to The National, Schenker said that targetting corrupt members of Lebanon's political class is a possibility under the Global Magnitsky Act.
by Annahar Staff

27 February 2020 | 10:14

Source: by Annahar

  • by Annahar Staff
  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 27 February 2020 | 10:14

In this photo released by Lebanon's official government photographer Dalati Nohra, Lebanese President Michel Aoun, right, meets with David Schenker, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, at the presidential palace, in Baabda east of Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019.

BEIRUT: Assistant Secretary of State David Schenker hinted Wednesday at anti-corruption sanctions targetting Lebanese politicians, as his government intensified pressure on the Iranian-backed militant group Hezbollah's financial network. 

Speaking to The National, Schenker said that targetting corrupt members of Lebanon's political class is a possibility under the Global Magnitsky Act. 

“It is something important for us and something we are working through right now,” he said. 

The U.S Treasury had earlier slapped sanctions on 15 Lebanese entities and individuals linked to the group’s Martyrs Foundation.

“Hezbollah profits from the sale of goods vital to the Lebanese peoples’ health and economy, such as pharmaceuticals and gasoline,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “The Trump Administration stands with the Lebanese people, and we are committed to exposing and holding accountable Hezbollah’s terror-funding business schemes.”

The companies targetted are Atlas Holding, Medical Equipment and Drugs International Corporation (MEDIC), Shahed Pharm, Amana Fuel Co., Amana Plus, Al Kawthar, Amana Sanitary and Paints Company LTD, City Pharma SARL., Global Touristic Services SAL., Sanovera Pharm Company SARL, Mirath and Capital SA. 

Three Hezbollah affiliates were also sanctioned: Kassem Mohamad Ali Bazzi, identified as a leader or official of Atlas Holding; Jawad Nur Al Din, identified as a leader or official of the Martyrs Foundation and Sheikh Yusuf Aasi, identified as a leader or official of the Martyrs Foundation.

According to the US Treasury, Atlas Holding “banked freely at [the now liquidated] Jammal Trust Bank (JTB), despite their open affiliation with previously designated Hezbollah entities”.

JTB was targetted late last year and is currently undergoing liquidation. The bank denied all charges. 

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