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US hits Hezbollah accountants with terrorism sanctions

Treasury Department says firms helped terror group with financial services and weapons acquisitions

Hezbollah fighters hold flags as they attend the memorial of their slain leader Sheik Abbas al-Mousawi, who was killed by an Israeli airstrike in 1992, in Tefahta village, South Lebanon, February 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari, File)
Hezbollah fighters hold flags as they attend the memorial of their slain leader Sheik Abbas al-Mousawi, who was killed by an Israeli airstrike in 1992, in Tefahta village, South Lebanon, February 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari, File)

The Biden administration on Thursday slapped terrorism sanctions on two accountants and two companies in Lebanon for providing the terrorist group Hezbollah with financial services.

The Treasury Department announced it would also impose sanctions on a third person for assisting Hezbollah, a US-designated “foreign terrorist organization,” with weapons acquisitions.

The penalties target Adel Mohamad Mansour, executive director of Hezbollah’s al-Qard Al-Hassan group, which has been previously sanctioned by the US, as well as another company he is involved with, al-Khobara for Accounting, Auditing, and Studies.

The sanctions also apply to the firm Auditors for Accounting and Auditing and one of its representatives, Naser Hasan Neser, as well as Hassan Khalil, who the Treasury said has been active in helping Hezbollah acquire arms.

“The individuals and companies being designated today have enabled Hezbollah’s financial apparatus operating throughout Lebanon,” the Treasury said in a statement. “Their public personae as financial professionals and institutions is just another way Hezbollah hides its abuse of the financial system to support its destabilizing agenda.”

Mansour downplayed the impact of the sanctions.

“I am proud and this is a medal of honor for me,” he told The Associated Press by telephone in Beirut.

“I don’t care about this at all. Since I joined this line [Hezbollah] I have been expecting anything,” Mansour said. He added that al-Qard al-Hassan has been under US sanctions since 2007 and said it has not hindered its work.

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