June 18, 2008
WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration took action Wednesday against a Venezuelan official and others accused of providing financial support to the Hezbollah terror group.
The Treasury Department's action covers Ghazi Nasr al Din, whom the United States identified as an official at the Venezuelan Embassy in Lebanon who had until recently served at country's embassy in Syria. The order also targets Fawzi Kan'an and two Venezuelan-based travel agencies - Biblos and Hilal - that he allegedly owns or controls.
Any financial assets found in the United States belonging to those designated Wednesday must be frozen. Americans are forbidden from doing business with them.
"It is extremely troubling to see the government of Venezuela employing and providing safe harbor to Hezbollah facilitators and fundraisers," said Adam Szubin, director of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control.
The U.S. government alleges that Nasr al Din used his position as a diplomat and president of a Caracas-based Shi' a Islamic Center to give financial assistance to Hezbollah. He is suspected of counseling Hezbollah donors on fundraising efforts and providing donors with specific bank account information where "donors deposits would go directly to Hezbollah," the department said. He also allegedly arranged the travel of Hezbollah members to Iran.
Kan'an was described by the department as a "significant provider" of financial support to Hezbollah. He also has traveled with other Hezbollah members to Iran, the department said. The government also alleged that he used his Biblos travel agency to "courier funds" to Lebanon.
In a separate action, Treasury moved to block the assets of alleged leaders of al-Qaida linked terrorist group Islamic Jihad Union, described by the U.S. as having a goal of overthrowing the Uzbekistan government. The two alleged leaders named are: Najmiddin Kamolitdinovich Jalolov and Suhayl Fatilloevich Buranov.