The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has imposed sanctions on Syrian financial facilitators who have been instrumental in enabling the Syrian regime, Hezbollah, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) to maintain access to the international financial system in violation of sanctions.

Of particular concern is the role played by the US-designated terrorist organization Hezbollah, a key ally of the Syrian regime and Iran’s IRGC-QF. Hezbollah, along with the Syrian government, has utilized Al-Fadel Exchange and Al-Adham Exchange, Syrian money service businesses, to transfer funds from other countries in the region to Syria. The Syrian government and Hezbollah collect hard currency outside of Syria, employing these exchanges to channel these funds to the Central Bank of Syria.

Additionally, it has come to light that Al-Fadel Exchange has facilitated payments from the Assad regime to U.S.-designated Hizballah financial official Muhammad Qasim al-Bazzal, in exchange for shipments of Iranian oil. Similarly, Al-Adham Exchange has been implicated in facilitating transfers benefiting the Syrian government.

The Treasury’s sanctions aim to target Al-Fadel Exchange, Al-Adham Exchange, and their respective owners for their roles in materially assisting the Central Bank of Syria, knowingly providing significant financial, material, or technological support to the Syrian government, and facilitating transactions benefiting Hezbollah and the IRGC-QF. The three brothers who own and operate Al-Fadel Exchange—Fadel Ma’ruf Balwi, Mut’i Ma’ruf Balwi, and Muhammad Ma’ruf Balwi—have been designated for their complicity in these activities. Al-Adham Exchange, headquartered in Damascus, has also been sanctioned for its role in supporting the Syrian government.

Source » lbcgroup