On Tuesday, the United States imposed sanctions on a prominent Lebanese economist who was allegedly helping the extremist organisation Hezbollah with its financial activities.
Hassan Moukalled, an economist and money changer, his company, CTEX Exchange, and his sons Rayyan and Rani Moukalled were all named in the U.S. Treasury Department’s announcement of sanctions. The Treasury claimed that these individuals “facilitate Hassan Moukalled and his company’s financial activities in support of Hizballah.”
In order to help Hizballah create a foothold in Lebanon’s financial system, it was said that Moukalled, who frequently makes appearances as an economic commentator on local television, had “worked in close coordination with senior Hizballah finance officials.” He is described as the terrorist group’s financial adviser, “carrying out business dealings on their behalf,” in the statement.
The Treasury further claimed that Hezbollah uses Moukalled’s exchange office as a “financial front firm.”
The Lebanese Company for Information and Studies (LCIS) and Lebanese Company for Publishing, Media, and Research and Studies were two further businesses that Moukalled owned or controlled that were also the focus of the sanctions (LCPMR).
Calling back, Moukalled asserted that his firms are “100% above-board” and refuted the accusations.
The action follows the imposition of terrorism sanctions by the United States in December against two accountants and two businesses in Lebanon for providing financial services to Hezbollah.
The sanctions were directed against Adel Mohamad Mansour, executive director of Hezbollah’s previously sanctioned al-Qard Al-Hassan firm, as well as another business he is connected to, al-Khobara for Accounting, Auditing, and Studies.
The company Auditors for Accounting and Auditing, one of its representatives named Naser Hasan Neser, and Hassan Khalil, who according to the Treasury Department has actively assisted Hezbollah in acquiring weapons, are also subject to the penalties.