Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 5 August 2020

Gulf countries and US issue sanctions on six ISIS financers

The move by the Terrorist Financing Targeting Centre is the latest measures to 'disrupt ISIS financing and undermine its ability to hide its activities'

A tractor clears debris from the site of the Battle of Mosul, when Iraqi forces and allied militias regained the northern Iraqi city from ISIS in 2017. AFP  
A tractor clears debris from the site of the Battle of Mosul, when Iraqi forces and allied militias regained the northern Iraqi city from ISIS in 2017. AFP  

Gulf countries and the United States on Wednesday night issued fresh sanctions on six targets accused of financing ISIS operations, including funnelling hundreds of thousands of dollars to leaders of the group in Iraq and Syria.

Saudi Arabia state media and the US Treasury Department said the Terrorist Financing Targeting Centre (TFTC) – a group that includes the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar – placed sanctions on three money services companies and an individual in Turkey and Syria, as well as an Afghanistan-based charity.

"The actions taken today serve as a further warning to individuals and businesses who provide financial support or material assistance to terrorist organisations," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

The TFTC said the aim was to "disrupt ISIS financing and undermine its ability to hide its activities and finance its operations through major financial services companies and charities operating under false pretences."

The blacklisted Syria-based money services businesses were Al Haram Exchange, Tawasul Company and Al Khalidi Exchange. The US Treasury said they had "played a vital role in transferring funds to support Syria-based ISIS fighters and ... provided hundreds of thousands of dollars of liquidity to ISIS leadership".

Abdul Rahman Al-Rawi, selected by ISIS in 2017 to serve as a senior financial facilitator, was also blacklisted, the centre said. He was accused of being one of a few that have provided ISIS "significant financial facilitation" into and out of Syria.

The TFTC also slapped sanctions on Afghanistan-based Nejaat Social Welfare Organisation and its director, Sayed Habib Khan, accusing the organisation of being used as a cover to support the activities of the Afghan affiliate of ISIS, known as ISIS-Khorasan (ISIS-K).

Wednesday's action freezes any US or Gulf assets of the individuals and entities blacklisted and generally prohibits American or Gulf firms from dealing with them.

The TFTC was established in 2017 to co-ordinate US and Gulf sanctions on terrorist groups and members and has so far sanctioned 60 individuals and entities.

Updated: July 16, 2020 09:35 AM

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