The United States government placed sanctions upon a Kenyan national it alleges as having built a sophisticated funding network in East Africa for the benefit of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced last Friday the designation of Waleed Ahmed Zein as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) for allegedly “assisting in, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for, or financial or other services to or in support of, ISIS.”
According to the Treasury Department, Zein has assembled an impressive funding network for ISIS in East Africa. The network allegedly connects financiers in Europe, the Middle East, North and South America, and Eastern Africa.
Officials say Zein facilitated transfers totaling over $150,000 between last year and early this year by saying the large amounts of money came from a family member’s legitimate automotive business. He’s also accused of using a confederate to make similar transfers from sources around the world via hawala systems, which are an informal value transfer system frequently used in Islamic countries.
The funds arranged by Zein allegedly ended up in the hands of ISIS operatives in Syria, Libya, and Central Africa. Though he used several methods of masking his activities from authorities, Zawala was arrested by Kenyan authorities this summer.
With the sanction handed down last week by OFAC, Zein is now legally prohibited from exercising any interest in property he owns in the jurisdiction of the United States, and all United States citizens are prohibited from knowingly conducting business with him.