Saturday, April 13, 2024

Treasury Targets Companies and Vessels Facilitating Qods Force and Houthi Commodity Shipments

WASHINGTON — Today, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took additional action to target shipments of Iranian commodities undertaken by the network of Iran-based, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF)-backed Houthi financial facilitator Sa’id al-Jamal. Today’s action targets two Hong Kong- and Marshall Islands-based ship owners and two vessels for their role in shipping commodities on behalf of al-Jamal, and follows a February 27 action targeting a related vessel, the ARTURA. The revenue generated through al-Jamal’s network continues to enable Houthi militant efforts, including ongoing and unprecedented attacks on international maritime commerce in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

“The IRGC-QF and the Houthis continue to rely on the illicit sale of commodities to finance their attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “The United States remains resolved to hold accountable those who enable these destabilizing activities.”

Today’s action is being taken pursuant to the counterterrorism authority in Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended. Sa’id al-Jamal was designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, on June 10, 2021 for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, the IRGC-QF. The IRGC-QF was designated pursuant to E.O. 13224 on October 25, 2007 for providing support to multiple terrorist groups. The U.S. Department of State designation of Ansarallah (commonly known as the Houthis) as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist group, pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, became effective February 16, 2024.

IRGC-QF AND HOUTHI COMMODITIES SHIPMENTS

Palau-flagged RENEEZ, which is owned and managed by Marshall Islands-based Reneez Shipping Limited, has transported tens of thousands of metric tons of Iranian commodities for the network of Iran-based IRGC-QF-backed Houthi financier Sa’id al-Jamal. Al-Jamal’s network often uses falsified cargo documents to mask the Iran-origin cargo onboard and to obfuscate its ties to Iran and al-Jamal’s network.

Reneez Shipping Limited is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Sa’id al-Jamal. The RENEEZ is being identified as blocked property in which Reneez Shipping Limited has an interest.

The Panama-flagged ARTURA was sanctioned as part of the February 27, 2024 action for transporting Iranian commodities on behalf of al-Jamal. ARTURA falsified its Automatic Identification System (AIS) to indicate it was traveling north from Singapore while the vessel was in the process of conducting a ship-to-ship (STS) transfer with the Panama-flagged ETERNAL FORTUNE. ETERNAL FORTUNE, which is owned by Hong Kong-based Hongkong Unitop Group Ltd, also emitted a false AIS signal while receiving the STS transfer from the ARTURA.

Hongkong Unitop Group Ltd is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Sa’id al-Jamal. The ETERNAL FORTUNE is being identified as blocked property in which Hongkong Unitop Group Ltd has an interest.

SANCTIONS IMPLICATIONS

As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the designated persons described above that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked. Unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, or exempt, OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons. 

In addition, financial institutions and other persons that engage in certain transactions or activities with the sanctioned entities and individuals may expose themselves to sanctions or be subject to an enforcement action. The prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any designated person, or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person. 

The power and integrity of OFAC sanctions derive not only from OFAC’s ability to designate and add persons to the SDN List, but also from its willingness to remove persons from the SDN List consistent with the law. The ultimate goal of sanctions is not to punish, but to bring about a positive change in behavior. For information concerning the process for seeking removal from an OFAC list, including the SDN List, please refer to OFAC’s Frequently Asked Question 897 here. For detailed information on the process to submit a request for removal from an OFAC sanctions list, please click here.

Click here for more information on the individuals and entities designated today.

 

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Official news published at https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy2159

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