The National Assembly

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: Opposition MPs Abdulkarim Al-Kandari and Osama Al-Munawer yesterday asked three government ministers about new US sanctions against two Kuwaiti citizens on charges of sending millions of dollars to Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. The sanctions were imposed by the US Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) against members of a network of Lebanon- and Kuwait-based intermediaries who allegedly fund the Shiite militia Hezbollah.

The sanctions also targeted members of an international network of financial facilitators and front companies that support Hezbollah and the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guard. “Together, these networks have laundered tens of millions of dollars through regional financial systems and conducted currency exchange operations and trades in gold and electronics for the benefit of the two entities,” OFAC said.

OFAC said one of the Kuwaitis coordinated the transfer of millions of dollars to Hezbollah from Kuwait with the other Kuwaiti citizen. Kandari asked the ministers of foreign affairs, finance and commerce about how the accused network conducted its operations and penetrated Kuwaiti financial institutions without being detected.

Munawer however directed his questions to Interior Minister Sheikh Thamer Al-Sabah and asked him for details about the two people sanctioned and if they had been interrogated by authorities in the past. He asked the minister what measures the authorities plan to take against the two, including seizing their assets. He also asked if the two suspects or others have been sanctioned for smuggling Iranian oil and then laundering the funds resulting from such smuggling operations.

A high-ranking judicial source told Al-Rai Arabic daily that security authorities are communicating with their US counterparts to verify the accusations against the two Kuwaitis, and if their actions are proved to be criminal, legal action will be taken.