Five organizations and 8 individuals were designated by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to be added to the office’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List in accordance with allegations by the international community of their participation in aiding the government of Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC) to develop chemical weapons.
Amir Katrangi, Maher Katrangi, Houssam Katrangi, Mohamad Katrangi, Mireille Chahine, Zhou Yishan, Antoine Ajaka, and Anni Beurklian have all been added to OFAC’s list, which means that their property interests in property located in the United States has been suspended, and Americans are not permitted to conduct business with them.
In addition to those individuals, Electronics Katrangi Trading (EKT), Golden Star Co., Polo Trading, Top Technologies SARL, and EKT Smart Technology were added to the list as entities who are to be subject to the same restrictions.
According to the government, the individuals and organizations acted under or in concert with EKT to provide material and funding for Syria’s development of chemical weapons, including weapons that the government has been accused of using against its own people. Though based in Lebanon, the organization has operations in Syria, Egypt, China, and France.
Per the Treasury Department, Katrangi and Beurklian and their firm Top Tech US Inc. are under indictment by a federal grand jury in Massachusetts on a bevy of charges, including conspiracy to commit export violations, conspiracy to defraud the United States, illegal provision of services to Syria, smuggling, conspiracy to obstruct justice, and mail fraud.
The United States government made the declaration in concert with an announcement by the French government to renew a similar ban on two dozen people and firms similarly related to the EKT network.