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Treasury acts against Hezbollah financing
The Bush administration took action yesterday against an Iran-based foundation, including its U.S. branch, accusing it of providing support to Hezbollah, a terrorist group that the United States has blamed for bloodshed in the Middle East.
Dawn Clenney, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Detroit, said members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force executed a series of search warrants. She said agents removed paper files from the Goodwill Charitable Organization but that no arrests were made.
About a mile away, FBI agents were seen inside the office of the Al-Mabarrat Charitable Organization.
Two Lebanese men — Qasem Aliq and Ahmad al-Shami — are covered by Treasury“s order.
The U.S. identified Mr. Aliq as a Hezbollah official who was once the director of the Martyrs Foundation“s branch in Lebanon. The U.S. says he is a director of Jihad al Bina, a Lebanon-based construction company thought to have been formed and operated by Hezbollah.
Mr. al-Shami worked for the foundation in Lebanon and has been in “frequent contact” with the Goodwill Charitable Organization, the department said. Goodwill Charitable Organization sent him money to distribute to the Martyrs Foundation, the department said.
The Treasury Department“s action means that any bank accounts or other financial assets found in the United States that belong to those identified yesterday must be frozen. Americans are prohibited from conducting business with them.
No current telephone listing was available for Goodwill Charitable Organization.
Goodwill Charitable Organization purportedly provided “financial support to Hezbollah directly and through the Martyrs Foundation in Lebanon,” Treasury stated. “Hezbollah“s leaders in Lebanon have instructed Hezbollah members in the United States to send their contributions to GCO and to contact the GCO for the purpose of contributing to the Martyrs Foundation.
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