US sanctions Lebanon-based companies with ties to Hezbollah

US Treasury imposes sanctions on two Lebanon-based companies and man described as official with ties to Hezbollah.

Elad Benari ,

Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon
Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon

The US Treasury on Thursday imposed sanctions on two Lebanon-based companies and a man described as an official with the Lebanese Hezbollah organization, reports The Associated Press.

The United States considers Hezbollah a terrorist organization and has imposed sanctions on many of the group’s officials in the past.

The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned the companies Arch Consulting and Meamar Construction “for being owned, controlled, or directed by Hezbollah.”

OFAC also sanctioned Sultan Khalifah Asaad, saying that he is a Hezbollah official closely associated with both companies.

“Hezbollah leverages Arch and Meamar to conceal money transfers to Hezbollah’s own accounts, further enriching Hezbollah’s leadership and supporters, and depriving the Lebanese people of much-needed funds,” the Treasury said, according to AP.

Thursday’s move comes a week after the Treasury sanctioned two former Lebanese Cabinet ministers allied with Hezbollah — the ex-finance minister, Ali Hassan Khalil, currently a lawmaker, and the former public works and transportation minister, Youssef Fenianos.

In July of 2019, the US Treasury placed two Hezbollah members of Lebanon's parliament on its sanctions blacklist, marking the first time Washington has taken aim at the Iran-allied group's elected politicians.

A month later, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on financial institutions and suspected middlemen in Lebanon and Oman.

Hezbollah, which has a strong political presence in Lebanon, is a major part of the cabinet, after the group and its allies gained more than half the seats of the 128-member Lebanese parliament in an election held in May of 2018.