US uncovers, sanctions Hamas officials, financial network

The officials and network are considered threats to U.S. national security because of their support for terrorism.

By Gil Tanenbaum, TPS

Last week the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated senior Hamas finance officials as well as an expansive network of three Hamas financial facilitators and six companies as supporters of terrorism and, therefore, threats to U.S. national security.

The U.S. officially designates Hamas as a terrorist organization.

The designations come in accordance with Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended, which targets terrorists, leaders, and officials of terrorist groups, and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism. The order, which was implemented in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, grants the American government a vehicle for preventing the terrorist organizations from bringing in the money needed to finance their activities.

As a result, all property and interests in property of the individuals and entities listed by the U.S. government as aiding terrorism, and of any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly 50 percent or more by it, individually, or with other blocked persons, that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons, must be blocked and reported to OFAC.

The individuals and groups cited were found to have generated revenue for the terrorist group through the management of an international investment portfolio.

Ahmed Sharif Abdallah Odeh and Usama Ali were two senior officials from the Hamas investment office designated as assisting terrorist financing.

Sidar Company and Itqan Real Estate JSC were among the companies cited.

Hamas’s Investment Office, whose leadership oversees this network, held assets estimated to be worth more than $500 million, including companies operating in Sudan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). While Hamas’s Shura Council and Executive Committee exercise control and oversight of the group’s international investment portfolio, the Investment Office is in charge of the day-to-day management of this investment portfolio.

“Today’s action targets the individuals and companies that Hamas uses to conceal and launder funds,” said Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes Elizabeth Rosenberg while in Israel to discuss counter-terrorist financing efforts.

Rosenberg went on to say that Hamas generated vast sums of revenue through its secret investment portfolio while destabilizing Gaza, which is facing harsh living and economic conditions. And that Hamas maintains a violent agenda that harms both Israelis and Palestinians.

“The United States is committed to denying Hamas the ability to generate and move funds and to holding Hamas accountable for its role in promoting and carrying out violence in the region,” he added.