The United States Impedes Hizballah Financing by Sanctioning Seven Individuals

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

The threat that Hizballah poses to the United States, our allies, and interests in the Middle East and globally, calls for countries around the world to take steps to restrict its activities and disrupt its facilitation networks. We applaud the countries in Europe, and South and Central America that have taken action against Hizballah in recent years and call on other governments around the world to follow suit.

Today, the United States is designating seven individuals involved in financial operations with Hizballah ties to continue impeding the group’s ability to operate in the global financial system. The United States is designating these individuals pursuant to Executive Order 13224, as amended, for acting for or on behalf of Hizballah or Al-Qard al-Hassan (AQAH), which provides cover for Hizballah’s financial activity; both Hizballah and AQAH are already designated under the same authority. While AQAH purports to serve the Lebanese people, in practice it illicitly moves funds through shell accounts and facilitators, exposing Lebanese financial institutions to sanctions risk related to conducting business with a designated entity. Moreover, by hoarding cash that is desperately needed by the Lebanese economy, AQAH empowers Hizballah to build its own support base and compromise the stability of the Lebanese state.

One of the seven individuals designated, Ibrahim Ali Daher, serves as the director of Hizballah’s Central Finance Unit, which oversees the group’s overall budget and spending. The remaining individuals designated used the cover of personal accounts to evade sanctions targeting AQAH and transferred approximately $500 million on behalf of AQAH.

These designations reinforce recent U.S. action against Hizballah financiers who have provided support or services to Hizballah. The United States will continue to take action to disrupt Hizballah’s operations.

For more information about today’s designation, please see the Department of the Treasury’s press release .

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    Based on GAO analysis of stakeholder views, five cross-cutting challenges affect the U.S. recycling system: (1) contamination of recyclables; (2) low collection of recyclables; (3) limited market demand for recyclables; (4) low profitability for operating recycling programs; and (5) limited information to support decision-making about recycling. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) most recent data show that less than a quarter of the waste generated in the United States is collected for recycling (69 million of 292 million tons) and is potentially available, along with new materials, to make new products (see fig.). Estimated Generation and Disposition of Waste in the United States, as of 2018 EPA, the Departments of Commerce (Commerce) and Energy, and the Federal Trade Commission have taken actions that advance recycling, such as collecting data and awarding grants for research on recycling technologies. However, EPA has not conducted studies or developed recommendations for administrative or legislative action on the effect of existing public policies on recycling, as the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) requires. Conducting these studies would provide Congress with information to better evaluate the effect of different policies on U.S. recycling efforts. In addition, Commerce is not fully meeting its RCRA requirement to stimulate the development of markets for recycled materials because it has not taken actions to stimulate domestic markets, as GAO recommended in 2006. Commerce officials stated that their work to stimulate international markets fulfills Commerce's obligations under RCRA. Congress may need to act to clarify Commerce's responsibilities under RCRA or assign responsibility for stimulating domestic markets to another agency. By taking action, Congress can ensure a federal response to the reduction in international demand for U.S. recyclables. EPA has taken several actions to plan and coordinate national efforts to advance recycling, such as releasing a draft national recycling strategy in October 2020. However, EPA has not incorporated some desirable characteristics for effective national strategies, identified in prior GAO work. By better incorporating such characteristics as it finalizes and implements its draft strategy, EPA will have greater assurance of the strategy's usefulness in making resource and policy decisions and will better ensure accountability for its implementation. In 1976, Congress sought to reduce solid waste and encourage recycling as part of RCRA, which gave primary responsibility for recycling to states and municipalities but requires EPA and Commerce to take specific actions. The United States generated almost 1,800 pounds of waste per capita in 2018. Recycling rates for common recyclables, such as paper, plastics, glass, and some metals, remain low. Furthermore, recent international import restrictions have reduced demand for U.S. exports of recyclables. GAO was asked to review federal efforts that advance recycling in the United States. This report examines (1) cross-cutting challenges affecting recycling in the United States, (2) actions that selected federal agencies have taken that advance recycling, and (3) actions EPA has taken to plan and coordinate national efforts to advance recycling. GAO reviewed laws and agency documents; and interviewed federal officials and nonfederal stakeholders, such as states, municipalities, and industry representatives, selected for their expertise and efforts to advance recycling. GAO is making one matter for congressional consideration to clarify a RCRA requirement for Commerce or to assign responsibility for stimulating domestic markets to another agency; and three recommendations to EPA, including that it take actions to fulfill certain RCRA requirements. EPA concurred with GAO's recommendations. For more information, contact J. Alfredo Gómez at (202) 512-3841 or gomezj@gao.gov.
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  • Turkey Travel Advisory
    In Travel
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  • Veterans’ Growing Demand for Mental Health Services
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found This capsule examines how VA plans to meet the need for mental health care among veterans. In this capsule, GAO cites policy considerations and reiterates recommendations to the Department of Veterans Affairs. 
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  • Secretary Blinken’s Meeting with the C5+1
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Seeks to Shut Down Georgia Return Preparer
    In Crime News
    The United States has filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, Macon Division, seeking to bar an Irwinton, Georgia, tax return preparer from preparing tax returns for others.
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  • Nord Stream 2 and European Energy Security 
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Massachusetts Man Convicted of Placing Firebomb at Entrance of Jewish Nursing Home
    In Crime News
    A Massachusetts man was convicted by a federal jury yesterday in connection with placing a lit firebomb at the entrance of a Longmeadow senior health care facility in April 2020.
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  • Former Union Official Sentenced for Violent Extortion
    In Crime News
    An Indiana man and former business agent of Iron Workers Local 395 was sentenced today to more than four years in prison for conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act extortion.
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  • Priority Open Recommendations: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found In April 2020, GAO identified eight priority recommendations for the Federal Reserve. Since then, the Federal Reserve has implemented five of those recommendations. As of April 2021, the remaining open three priority recommendations for the Federal Reserve involve the following areas: Collaborating with other financial regulators to communicate with banks that have third-party relationships with fintech lenders about using alternative data in underwriting. Communicating uncertainties surrounding stress testing, including capital ratio estimates. Communicating uncertainties surrounding stress testing, including tolerance levels for key risks, and the degree of uncertainty in projected estimates. The Federal Reserve's continued attention to these issues could improve its ability to more effectively oversee risks to consumers and the safety and soundness of the U.S. banking system. Why GAO Did This Study Priority open recommendations are GAO recommendations that warrant priority attention from heads of key departments or agencies because their implementation could save large amounts of money; improve congressional or executive branch decision-making on major issues; eliminate mismanagement, fraud, and abuse; or ensure that programs comply with laws and funds are legally spent, among other benefits. Since 2015 GAO has sent letters to selected agencies to highlight the importance of implementing such recommendations. For more information, contact Daniel Garcia-Diaz at (202) 512-8678 or garciadiazd@gao.gov.
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  • Deputy Assistant Attorney General Michael Murray Delivers Remarks at University of Michigan Law School
    In Crime News
    I am here today to speak about the intersection of the antitrust laws and the financial sector of our economy.  The financial markets and the financial services industry are currently undergoing massive transformation.  New technologies are disrupting how we do business, how we transact with each other, and how the economy functions.  Much of this change benefits consumers with innovative, low cost, and convenient products and services.  But with rapid change also comes the opportunity for anticompetitive conduct and its attendant harm.  Incumbents may predict and resist their demise and seek to slow innovation and the growth of rivals, and market participants who should compete against each other can agree to act jointly to the detriment of the American consumer. 
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  • Two Companies and Nine Individuals Indicted for Alleged Large-Scale Visa Fraud Employment Scheme
    In Crime News
    An indictment returned by a federal grand jury in the Southern District of Georgia has been unsealed charging two businesses and nine of their officers and managers located across the country for their roles in an alleged conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government and commit various fraud and criminal immigration offenses for profit.
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