The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced on October 18, 2023, that it has imposed sanctions on ten individuals and entities with ties to Hamas, the Palestinian militant group. These sanctions are part of an ongoing effort by the United States to target the financial infrastructure supporting Hamas and related militant organizations.
The sanctions come in response to a recent terrorist attack on Israeli civilians, including children, carried out by Hamas. The OFAC's action is a swift and decisive response to hold those responsible for such acts accountable.
Among the individuals and entities targeted by these sanctions are key Hamas members, operatives, and financial facilitators operating in Gaza and various other countries, including Sudan, Turkey, Algeria, and Qatar. These sanctions are designed to disrupt and dismantle Hamas's financial network, which includes a complex investment portfolio hidden in the shadows.
Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen stated, "The U.S. Treasury has a long history of effectively disrupting terror finance, and we will not hesitate to use our tools against Hamas. We will continue to take all steps necessary to deny Hamas terrorists the ability to raise and use funds to carry out atrocities and terrorize the people of Israel."
The OFAC action builds upon previous designations made in May 2022, which targeted officials and companies managing Hamas's secret international investment portfolio. This financial portfolio generates substantial revenue, estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, through companies operating in various countries, including Sudan, Algeria, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. These companies frequently functioned as seemingly legitimate businesses, all the while keeping their connection to Hamas and its control over their assets concealed.
In this latest round of sanctions, OFAC is designating six individuals associated with Hamas' secret investment portfolio, two senior Hamas officials, and a Gaza-based virtual currency exchange and its operator. The sanctions are being imposed under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which targets terrorist groups and their supporters.
The U.S. Department of State has designated Hamas, as well as other Palestinian organizations, including Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), as Foreign Terrorist Organizations since October 1997. These groups have also been listed as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) since October 2001.
The Sanctions Include
Hamas Investment Portfolio
- Musa Muhammad Salim Dudin, a West Bank-based member of Hamas's Political Bureau and Investment Office official.
- Abdelbasit Hamza Elhassan Mohamed Khair, a Sudan-based Hamas financier.
- Amer Kamal Sharif Alshawa, Ahmed Sadu Jahleb, Aiman Ahmad Al-Duwaik, and Walid Mohammed Mustafa Jadallah are part of Hamas's investment network in Turkey and Algeria.
- Muhammad Ahmad ‘Abd Al-Dayim Nasrallah, a Hamas operative based in Qatar.
- Ayman Nofal, a member of the Izz al-Din al-Qassim Brigades and commander of military relations for Hamas.
Hamas Virtual Currency Fundraising
- Buy Cash Money and Money Transfer Company (Buy Cash), is a Gaza-based business providing money transfer and virtual currency exchange services.
- Ahmed M. M. Alaqad, based in Gaza and registered as Buy Cash's domain owner.
The United States states that its goal is to disrupt terrorism financing by cutting the funding of these groups, all in the spirit of its ongoing commitment to safeguard innocent civilians from further attacks.
OFAC emphasizes the importance of vigilance in tracking and reporting any suspicious financial activities related to terrorist organizations. Small-dollar donations, including those made through virtual currencies, can play a critical role in identifying and disrupting terrorist funding.
As a result of these sanctions, all property and interests in property of the designated individuals and entities within the United States or under the control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. Financial institutions and individuals engaging in transactions with these entities may expose themselves to sanctions or enforcement actions.
According to OFAC, the goal of these sanctions is not just to punish but to encourage positive change in behavior. The process for seeking removal from an OFAC list is available for individuals and entities who can demonstrate compliance with sanctions regulations.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury's latest actions sent a message: "The United States remains committed to combatting terrorism financing and protecting the lives of innocent civilians."