Action Targets Company’s Owners and Several Managers Responsible for Supporting Hizballah’s Global Procurement Operations
WASHINGTON –The U.S. Department of the Treasury targeted a key Hizballah procurement network today by designating brothers Kamel and Issam Mohamad Amhaz, their consumer electronics business Stars Group Holding based in Beirut, Lebanon, its subsidiaries, and certain managers and individuals who support their illicit activities. Today’s actions were taken pursuant to E.O. 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists, or acts of terrorism. As a result of today’s action, all assets of those designated today that are based in the United States or in control by U.S. persons are frozen, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them. Today’s action highlights Hizballah’s continued reliance on companies for material support, including the procurement of material used to enhance the group’s military capabilities.
Hizballah has used the Stars Group Holding network to covertly purchase sophisticated electronics and other technology from suppliers across the world. Items obtained by Hizballah using the Stars Group Holding network have directly supported the group’s military capabilities, including the development of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which have been used most recently to support Hizballah’s military activities in Syria and to conduct surveillance operations in Israel.
“With disturbing reach far beyond Lebanon, Hizballah’s extensive procurement networks exploit the international financial system to enhance its military capabilities in Syria and its terrorist activities worldwide,” said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen. “This global terrorist activity and expanding criminal network belie Hizballah’s claimed purpose as a national liberation movement. It is critical that countries throughout the world work together to combat this dangerous organization and sever it from sources of revenue and support.”
Beirut-based Stars Group Holding is owned and managed by President and Chief Executive Officer Kamel Mohamad Amhaz and company Chairman Issam Mohamad Amhaz. In addition to the company’s Lebanon-based businesses, Treasury-designated Stars Group Holding maintains subsidiaries in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Unique Stars Mobile Phones LLC, and Guangzhou, China, Stars International Ltd. Today’s action also targets Ayman Ibrahim, who serves as the General Manager of Unique Stars Mobile Phones LLC, and Ali Zeaiter who is the General Manager ofStars International Ltd.
Over the past three years, Stars Group Holding, Kamel Mohamad Amhaz, Issam Mohamad Amhaz, Ayman Ibrahim, and Ali Zeaiter have used these China- and UAE-based subsidiaries to acquire a range of engines, communications, electronics, and navigation equipment from companies in the United States, Asia, Canada, and Europe for Hizballah’s use in UAVs and for other projects. These individuals and entities have relied on false end-user certificates, mislabeled air waybills, and other fraudulent methods to avoid export restrictions and otherwise conceal Hizballah as the ultimate end-user or beneficiary of these goods.
In addition to the Stars Group Holding owners, managers, and companies described above, Treasury is also designating Hanna Elias Khalifeh, a Hizballah member and Lebanese businessman who has worked directly with Stars Group Holding network managers to facilitate these procurement activities on behalf of Hizballah.
The following Beirut-based subsidiaries of Stars Group Holding were also designated by Treasury today: Stars Communications Ltd.,Teleserve Plus Sal, Stars Communications Offshore Sal, and Fastlink SARL.