U.S. Treasury Targets Al-Shabaab Funding Network: Disrupting Money Laundering Operations

The U.S. Treasury Department announced sweeping sanctions today against a network of 16 entities and individuals accused of raising and laundering funds for the terrorist group al-Shabaab in Somalia and across the Horn of Africa region.

The sanctioned individuals include influential businesspeople in the United Arab Emirates, Cyprus, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda and Finland who have provided critical financial backing to al-Shabaab, according to the Treasury. The Dubai-based Haleel Group and its subsidiaries across several countries are alleged to be at the center of the money laundering operations.

“Al-Shabaab generates over $100 million per year by extorting local businesses and individuals, as well as through the financial support of affiliated businesspeople,” said Brian E. Nelson, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. “Today’s action is part of a effort to disrupt al-Shabaab’s abuse of the regional financial system.”

As a result of the sanctions, all property and financial interests in the U.S. belonging to the designated individuals and entities must be frozen and prohibited from transactions. The Treasury warned that those continuing to conduct transactions with the sanctioned parties could face potential secondary sanctions.

The coordinated action aims to degrade al-Shabaab’s ability to raise funds used in terrorist attacks across East Africa that have killed thousands. It represents the latest U.S. efforts to disrupt the group’s financial infrastructure following sanctions last October on a separate facilitator network.

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