Central Bank of Iran designated by US Treasury

On 15 May 2018, the US Department of the Treasury‘s Office of Foreign Asset Control announced new sanctions against the governor of the Central Bank of Iran, the chairman and CEO of Al-Bilad Bank (Iraq), and a Hizballah financier.

According to OFAC, Valiollah Seif, the governor of the Central Bank of Iran facilitated the movement of millions of dollars for IRGC-QF through al-Bilad Islamic Bank, ultimately destined for Hizballah. Seif used a variety of different currencies to move the money.

al-Bilad Islamic Bannk’s chairman and CEO Aras Habib was also sanctioned for his work in enabling IRGC-QF’s exploitation of his bank.  Muhammad Qasir was designated for acting on behalf of Hizballah.

Analysis: While few details about how the movement of funds occurred (aside from the use of the formal financial sector), IRGC-QF is known to have used front companies and MSBs in Dubai to finance its activities, and to use a number of financial officers to transfer money to Hizballah. The inclusion of the governor of the Central Bank of Iran in the designations demonstrates the extent to which the Iranian financial sector is complicit in illicit financing.

Karl PattonComment