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OFAC Designates Syrian Business Network Supporting Assad Regime

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The federal government last week announced another slate of sanctions against the Assad regime in Syria in an effort at hastening a peaceful resolution to the conflict there.

On Wednesday the United States Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) added three more individuals and a baker’s dozen entities to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List. The additions last week essentially amount to a business network that supplies the Fourth Division of the Syrian Army, which itself is a sanctioned entity as well.

According to OFAC, the network is run by a prominent Syrian businessman. The Office says he established a private security company in 2017 that is allegedly now the de facto executive arm of the Fourth Division’s security apparatus. The businessman was also put in charge of collecting fees from checkpoints.

In addition, OFAC says the businessman also established several other firms used by the military to launder money collected illegally at checkpoints and through various other methods of looting. Also designated was a telecom company he established last year at the behest of Assad’s wife but in which he holds the entirety of the shares.

Among the several other companies designated by OFAC last week was a company that owns and operates the country’s biggest network of billboards, a tourist company, a hotel chain, a metals wholesaler, a money-transfer company, and a local tourism company. Each of these firms are either controlled by the businessman or owned outright by him for the benefit of the Assad regime.

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