The U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned a key Hezbollah support network Thursday, targeting financier and member Ali Youssef Charara and his telecommunications company, Spectrum Investment Group.
As a result, all the assets of Charara and Spectrum that are based in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are frozen, and U.S. persons are generally barred from conducting transactions with them.
Charara has received millions of dollars from Hezbollah to invest in commercial projects that financially support the group.
Adam J. Szubin, acting under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said Hezbollah relies on accomplices in the business community to place, manage and launder its terrorist funds. He said the U.S. government was committed to exposing and disrupting these financial networks to pressure Hezbollah and degrade its ability to foment violence in Lebanon, Syria and across the Middle East.
In addition to Charara’s facilitation of commercial investments on behalf of Hezbollah, he has also worked on oil ventures in Iraq with Hezbollah member Adham Tabaja and Hezbollah financial supporter Kassem Hejeij, both of whom were previously designated for sanctions by the Treasury Department.
Tabaja has maintained direct ties to senior Hezbollah officials and Hezbollah’s operational component, Islamic Jihad.