Palestine: an Algerian society sanctioned by the United States

The United States Treasury Department sanctioned this Tuesday, May 24, “a financial officer of the Palestinian movement Hamas, as well as a network of financial facilitators and companies that have generated income for the benefit of the movement through the management of a portfolio of international investment,” said a press release from the said department, noting that one of these companies was based in Algeria.

In a statement issued on May 24, the United States Treasury Department said that “the sanctions target the Hamas investment office, which holds assets estimated at more than $500 million, including including companies operating in Sudan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates as well as Algeria.

According to the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, Elizabeth Rosenberg, this sanction “targets individuals and companies that Hamas uses to hide and launder funds”.

“Hamas has generated vast sums of revenue through its covert investment portfolio while destabilizing Gaza, which faces difficult living and economic conditions,” said Elizabeth Rosenberg, while in Israel to discuss counter-terrorism financing efforts.

Indeed, the Assistant Secretary of the United States Treasury underlined the fact that “Hamas maintains a violent program that harms both Israelis and Palestinians”, explaining, in this same sense, that “the United States is committed to deprive Hamas of the ability to generate and move funds and to hold Hamas accountable for its role in promoting and perpetuating violence in the region.”

Moreover, it should be recalled that “the United States designated Hamas as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in October 1997 and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist pursuant to EO 13224 in October 2001”.

Which Algerian company was sanctioned by the United States?

In its statement, the US Treasury Department listed the people and companies affected by this sanction, “designating them, under Executive Order (EO) 13224, as amended, which targets terrorists, such as leaders and leaders of terrorist groups, and those who support terrorists or acts of terrorism”. The list provided includes the name of the company Sidar, which is based in Algeria.

“The investment office also secretly held assets in Algeria-based Sidar and UAE-based Itqan Real Estate JSC, both of which appeared to operate as legitimate businesses, but in practice were controlled by Hamas and transferred money to the group,” revealed the same statement.

Thus, the same source indicated that the company Sidar, based in Algeria, is concerned by this sanction, adding that “a significant part of the funds transferred by these companies (Sidar and Itqan Real Estate JSC) to Hamas had been allocated to the military branch of the group, the Izz-Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades”.

According to the US Treasury Department, “Sidar Company, Anda Company, and Agrogate Holding were among Hamas’ biggest investments in real estate and construction.” The leadership of the Hamas investment office actively managed Sidar Company, a real estate development company,” we read in the same press release.

For the United States of America, “Sidar Company and Itqan Real Estate JSC are designated pursuant to EO 13224, as amended, to be owned, controlled or directed, directly or indirectly, by Hamas”.

Furthermore, the disclosed list also includes the names of senior officials from Hamas’ investment office, including Ahmed Sharif Abdallah Odeh and Osama Ali, as well as Hisham Younis Yahia Qafisheh.

What does this sanction imply?

The US Treasury Department did not fail to point out that following this sanction, “the property of the persons and entities mentioned, and of any entity which belongs to them, directly or indirectly, at 50% or more, individually or along with other blocked individuals, who are in the United States or in the possession or control of US nationals, must be blocked and reported to the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

“In addition, engaging in any transaction with the designated persons and entities today carries the risk of secondary sanctions pursuant to EO 13224, as amended”underlined the same press release.

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