Designation of Hizballah and IRGC-QF financiers
In another designation by the US Department of the Treasury, Mohammad Ibrahim Bazzi and Abdallah Safi-al-din were listed as specially designated global terrorists.
Bazzi was designated as one of Hizballah’s top financiers, and for his link to drug dealers and is alleged to have laundered money to fund terrorism. Bazzi is also reported to have links to the Ayman Joumaa drug-trafficking and money-laundering organization.
Safi-al-din was designated as one of Hizballah’s key financial representatives in Tehran and played a role in the alleged money-laundering scheme through the Lebanese Canadian Bank.
Bazzi derived a significant amount of money from Gambian oil-contracts, which he won by providing the country’s dictator with illicit goods and services. Bazzi used his firms to sell oil to Gambia, and sent the proceeds to Hizballah.
Both Bazzi and Safi-al-din are reported to have worked with the Central Bank of Iran to facilitated IRGC-QF access to hundreds of millions of US dollars, and expand banking access between Lebanon and Iran.
The designation also includes companies owned and controlled by Bazzi.
Analysis: This designation follows the designation of the Iranian Central Bank for facilitating the movement of funds for IRGC-QF. While the designation contains few details on the transactions that Bazzi and Safi-al-din conducted, Bazzi may have also used his companies as fronts to move money, launder the proceeds of narcotics trafficking, and to provide funds to IRGC-QF. Jurisdictions in which these entities operated will likely face increased pressure from the US to prevent their continued operation.