June 15, 2017: OFAC adds 5 to terrorism sanctions

On Thursday, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) added the following 4 persons: 

AL BINALI, Mohammed Isa Yousif Saqar (a.k.a. AL-BINALI, Mohamed Isa; a.k.a. ALBINALI, Mohammad Isa; a.k.a. AL-BINALI, Mohammed; a.k.a. AL-BINALI, Mohammed Isa; a.k.a. “Abu Al Silmi”; a.k.a. “Abu Isa Al Salmi”; a.k.a. “Abu Issa Al-Selmy”); DOB 09 Mar 1991; POB Manama, Bahrain; nationality Bahrain; Gender Male (individual) [SDGT]. 
 
AL-KUBAYSI, ‘Umar (a.k.a. AL-KUBAYSI ARHAYM, Umar Mahmud; a.k.a. AL-KUBAYSI, Umar Mahmud Rahim; a.k.a. AL-QUBAYSI, Umar Mahmud Rahim; a.k.a. ARHAYM, ‘Umar Mahmud; a.k.a. RAHIM, ‘Umar Mahmud), al-Qaim, al-Anbar Province, Iraq; DOB 01 Jan 1967; nationality Iraq; Gender Male (individual) [SDGT] (Linked To: ISLAMIC STATE OF IRAQ AND THE LEVANT). 
 
ARMAR, Mohammad Shafi (a.k.a. ARMAR, Mohammed Shafi; a.k.a. ARMAR, Safi; a.k.a. ARMAR, Shafi; a.k.a. “Anjan Bhai”; a.k.a. “Chote Maula”; a.k.a. “Yousouf al-Hindi”; a.k.a. “Yousuf-Al Hindi”; a.k.a. “Yusuf al-Hindi”), Syria; DOB 1989 to 1991; POB Bhatkal, Karnataka, India; Gender Male (individual) [SDGT]. 
 
ATAR, Oussama Ahmad (a.k.a. ATAR, Oussama; a.k.a. ATAR, Usama; a.k.a. ATTAR, Usama), Raqqa, Syria; DOB 1983 to 1985; POB Belgium; nationality Belgium; alt. nationality Morocco; Gender Male (individual) [SDGT].

and one entity: 

AL-KAWTHAR MONEY EXCHANGE (a.k.a. AL-KAWTHAR HAWALA), Al-Qa’im, Al Anbar Province, Iraq [SDGT] (Linked To: AL-KUBAYSI, ‘Umar).

to its counter terrorism sanctions program.

The Treasury Department issued the following press release:

 Treasury Sanctions Iraq-Based ISIS Financial Facilitation Network


6/15/2017

Action Underscores Continued U.S. Collaboration with the Government of Iraq on Countering ISIS’s Terrorism Financing Operations
 
 
Washington – The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action today to disrupt an Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) financial facilitation network by designating one individual and one entity pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism.  Specifically, OFAC designated Umar al-Kubaysi (al-Kubaysi) and his company, Al-Kawthar Money Exchange (Al-Kawthar), building upon OFAC’s December 2016 actions, which marked the first designations of ISIS-linked money services businesses.  Al-Kubaysi and Al-Kawthar play an important role in ISIS’s financial operations by moving money both within and outside of ISIS-controlled territory.  As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of those designated today subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.
 
“The Treasury Department designates those who make it possible to move funds in and out of ISIS-controlled territory as one way to disrupt ISIS’ financing networks.  We are committed to shining a bright light on anyone who would attempt to provide terrorists access to the international financial system,” said OFAC Director John E. Smith.  “These actions are part of a continued effort to target individuals and entities that willfully provide support to ISIS in order to constrict this violent terror group’s operational reach and shut off its access points to the international financial system.”
 
OFAC designated al-Kubaysi and Al-Kawthar in coordination with the Government of Iraq, which has also taken steps under its domestic authorities to bar this entity from the Iraqi financial system and freeze any assets al-Kubaysi and Al-Kawthar may have subject to Iraq’s jurisdiction.
 
Additionally, the Department of State today designated ISIS members Mohammad Shafi Armar, Oussama Ahmad Atar, and Mohammed Isa Yousif Saqar Al Binali.
 
Umar al-Kubaysi
 
Al-Kubaysi was designated for acting for or on behalf of ISIS.  
 
Al-Kubaysi’s involvement with ISIS and its predecessor organizations dates back to 2006 when al-Kubaysi was transferring operational funds primarily for ISIS’s predecessor, al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI), and other insurgent groups.  Since then, al-Kubaysi has worked with an ISIS weapons facilitator and has acted as a financial facilitator for ISIS.  Specifically, as of mid-2016, al-Kubaysi was involved in financial activities with ISIS and, in 2014, worked with an ISIS weapons facilitator to smuggle pickup trucks from Syria to Iraq.  
 
Al-Kawthar Money Exchange
 
Al-Kawthar was designated for being owned or controlled by al-Kubaysi.  
 
As of mid-2016, al-Kubaysi owned Al-Kawthar, which was located in ISIS-controlled territory.  Between late 2015 and early 2016, Al-Kawthar Money Exchange reconciled financial transfers worth approximately $2.5 million with another Iraq-based money exchange company that was associated with ISIS financial facilitators.  Al-Kawthar sent transfers using a Gulf-based company, which is co-owned by two suspected ISIS facilitators.  
 
In spring 2014, al-Kubaysi, as the owner of Al-Kawthar, reconciled deposits and withdrawals with the Hanifa Currency Exchange, which is owned by ISIS financial facilitator Fawaz Muhammad Jubayr al-Rawi.  OFAC designated both Fawaz Muhammad Jubayr al-Rawi and the Hanifa Currency Exchange branch in Albu Kamal as Specially Designated Global Terrorists pursuant to E.O. 13224 on December 13, 2016.  In 2013, Al-Kawthar was involved in facilitating money transfers for AQI.

And the State Department issued their own (about the other designees):

Media Note

Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
June 15, 2017

 

The Department of State has designated Mohammad Shafi Armar, Oussama Ahmad Atar, and Mohammed Isa Yousif Saqar Al Binali as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) under Section 1(b) of Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which imposes sanctions on foreign persons determined to have committed, or pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of U.S. nationals, or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States. As a consequence of these designations, U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions or dealings with Armar, Atar, and Binali, and all of their property and interests in property subject to United States jurisdiction is blocked.

Mohammad Shafi Armar is a leader and head recruiter in India for the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) group, ISIS. He has cultivated a group of dozens of ISIS sympathizers who are involved in terrorist activities across India, such as plotting attacks, procuring weapons, and identifying locations for terrorist training camps.

Oussama Ahmad Atar is a senior leader of ISIS’s external operations efforts and has established a network to carry out attacks in Europe. He was a leading coordinator of the November 2015 Paris attacks and March 2016 attacks in Brussels. The Belgian-Moroccan national was responsible for recruiting, training, and sending at least some of the individuals to Paris to launch the November 2015 attacks, which killed and injured hundreds, including Americans. He also recruited and mentored two of the bombers involved in the March 2016 Brussels attacks that killed 32 and left many more wounded.

Mohammed Isa Yousif Saqar Al Binali is a senior member of ISIS. Binali departed Bahrain to join the terrorist group in 2014 and has since appeared in multiple ISIS propaganda videos calling on Bahrainis, specifically members of Bahrain’s security forces, to join ISIS.

Today’s action notifies the U.S. public and the international community that Atar, Armar, and Binali have committed or pose a significant risk of committing acts of terrorism. Designations expose and isolate organizations and individuals, and result in denial of access to the U.S. financial system. Moreover, designations can assist or complement the law enforcement actions of other U.S. agencies and other governments.

A list of State Department-designated FTOs and SDGTs is available here: http://www.state.gov/j/ct/list/index.htm.

Links:

OFAC Notice

Treasury Press Release

State Press Release

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