The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has announced the designation of key Hizballah operatives and financial facilitators in South America and Lebanon, in coordination with the Drug Enforcement Administration.
One of the individuals designated is Amer Mohamed Akil Rada, a senior Hizballah operative who was involved in the 1994 terrorist attack against the Asociacion Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) in Argentina that killed 85 people. Amer is also responsible for managing a commercial enterprise for Hizballah, including charcoal exports to Lebanon.
This action targets seven individuals and entities who are part of a network that generates revenue for Hizballah’s terrorist activities and supports its presence and activities in Latin America. Hizballah has established a global infrastructure that includes commercial activities to facilitate its operations.
Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson emphasized the U.S. government’s commitment to pursuing Hizballah operatives and financiers, regardless of their location, and to prevent the abuse of the financial system for terrorism financing.
The designated network includes Amer’s brother, Samer Akil Rada, who is involved in illicit drug trafficking and money laundering in various countries in Latin America. Samer is the General Manager and CEO of BCI Technologies C.A., based in Venezuela.
Mahdy Akil Helbawi, Amer’s son, conducts business activities in Colombia on Amer’s behalf to evade detection and circumvent sanctions. He is the CEO of Zanga S.A.S., a Colombia-based charcoal company.
Zanga S.A.S. received transfers from Lebanon-based company Black Diamond SARL, owned by Ali Ismail Ajrouch, which were cited as purchases of coal or charcoal.
As a result of this designation, all property and interests in property of the designated individuals and entities must be blocked and reported to OFAC. Any transactions involving them by U.S. persons or within the United States are generally prohibited. Persons engaging in certain transactions with the designated individuals and entities may be subject to secondary sanctions.
It is important to note that two of the designated individuals are also subject to the Hizballah Financial Sanctions Regulations, which impose strict conditions on foreign financial institutions conducting transactions with them.