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US Treasury blacklists Hezbollah financial firms

The Treasury blacklists Bayt al-Mal and the Yousser Company for channelling funds to the 'Iran-funded Hezbollah terrorist network'.

india Updated: Sep 08, 2006 03:58 IST

The United States tried to tighten the financial noose around Hezbollah by slapping sanctions on two more companies linked to the Lebanese militant group.

The Treasury on Thursday blacklisted Bayt al-Mal and the Yousser Company, along with Bayt al-Mal head Husayn al-Shami, for channelling funds to the "Iran-funded Hezbollah terrorist network".

"Bayt al-Mal and the Yousser Company function as Hezbollah's unofficial treasury, holding and investing its assets and serving as intermediaries between the terrorist group and mainstream banks," said Stuart Levey, the US Treasury's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

"Institutions considering dealing with these two entities are now on notice as to their true character," he said.

The Treasury froze any US assets held by the two companies, and banned Americans from conducting any transactions with them.

Last week it took similar action against the Islamic Resistance Support Organization, which it said was a leading fundraising arm for Hezbollah.

The US government has stepped up a financial and diplomatic offensive against Hezbollah since the militant group abducted two Israeli soldiers in July, sparking over four weeks of fierce fighting with the Jewish state.