BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:20 A.M.) – The U.S. Treasury has sanctioned two former Lebanese ministers over their alleged corruption and support to Hezbollah.
In a press release on Tuesday, the U.S. Treasury said they sanctioned former Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil and former Transport Minister Yousef Fenianos.
The U.S. Treasury said Khalil and Fenianos “provided material support to Hezbollah and engaged in corruption.”
Khalil and Fenianos are politicians that are members of two parties in the March 8th political bloc that is allied with Hezbollah.
In response to the sanctions, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said “for too long, Lebanon’s political leaders have ignored their responsibility to address the needs of their people and instead built a political system that serves their private interests.”
“The August 4 explosion at the Beirut port is the most recent and tragic demonstration of Lebanon’s dysfunctional political system, which has also enabled a terrorist group to hold the country’s governance hostage to its own agenda. The United States supports the Lebanese people’s call for reform, and we will use all available authorities to promote accountability for Lebanese leaders who have failed their people,” Pompeo continued.
Pompeo said: “while holding positions in previous Lebanese cabinets, Fenianos and Khalil directed political and economic favors to Hizbullah, including ensuring Hizbullah-owned companies won government contracts worth millions of dollars and moving money from government ministries to Hizbullah-associated institutions.”
He added: “Today’s designations demonstrate that Lebanese politicians who have provided a false veneer of political legitimacy to Hizbullah or abused their positions to direct public funds to the terrorist group are as responsible for its entrenched influence as Hizbullah’s own members or the corrupt businessmen and money launderers that have helped fund the group for decades.”