Entries in Treasury Department (7)


Obama Signs Executive Order to Protect Transition in Yemen

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama has signed an executive order authorizing sanctions against anyone who threatens to undermine the political transition in Yemen.

"This Executive Order will allow the United States to take action against those who seek to undermine Yemen’s transition and the Yemeni peoples’ clear desire for change," the White House said in a statement released by the Press Secretary on Wednesday. "The President took this step because he believes that the legitimate aspirations of the Yemeni people, along with the urgent humanitarian and security challenges, cannot be addressed if political progress stalls."

The order gives the Treasury Department the authority to freeze the U.S.-based assets of those who “threaten the peace, security and stability of Yemen,” the White House said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Sanctions Push Iranian Currency to Record Lows

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Iran’s currency, the rial, has lost 71 percent of its value against the dollar since September, a fact that a senior Treasury Department official said Monday was a direct result of U.S. and international sanctions on Tehran. Monday, the rial dropped 10 percent to reach record lows after the European Union imposed sanctions.

The EU Monday banned oil imports from Iran, and the U.S. Treasury sanctioned Iran’s third-largest bank, the last of five state-owned banks to be sanctioned, and one of Iran’s final lifelines to the international monetary system.

Iran has reacted to the increased pressure with heightened belligerence in the Strait of Hormuz as well as a renewed willingness to engage in nuclear talks.

The Treasury Department official said Monday that Iran had taken some drastic steps to counter the effect of sanctions, including blocking text messages that contain the words “euro” or “dollar.” Sales of Western currencies were banned and plain clothes police roam currency exchange booths searching for violators, the Treasury official said.

According to a senior European diplomat, the EU’s oil ban, combined with decisions by Japan and South Korea to cut back oil purchases from Iran, will have a disastrous effect on Iran’s economy. Together they account for a significant percentage of Iran’s foreign oil sales. Countries like Russia, China and India represent the balance, but not enough to make up for the loss of revenue.

As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner made clear in their joint statement this morning the aim is clear: to starve Iran’s nuclear program of its major source of funding but cutting off oil revenues.

Given that the United States has yet to even begin implementing tough new sanctions on oil deals through Iran’s Central Bank, the senior Treasury official Monday predicted that Iran’s economic woes were only going to get worse in the near future.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


US Offers $10 Million Bounty for Al Qaeda Financier in Iran

Adam Gault/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The State Department and Treasury Department announced Thursday a $10 million bounty for information that leads them to a key al Qaeda financier and facilitator who is operating in Iran.

Ezedin Abdel Aziz Khalil, better known as Yasin al-Suri, is a young Kurdish Syrian whose network, U.S. officials say, has funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars and operatives, primarily from the Persian Gulf region, through Iran and ultimately to al Qaeda networks in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq.

“Al-Suri’s network has served as a financial conduit, collecting funds from donors throughout the Gulf and moving those via Iran to al Qaeda’s leadership in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Al-Suri’s network also serves as the core pipeline for al Qaeda to funnel operatives from the Middle East to Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Al-Suri works with the Iranian government to secure the release of al Qaeda operatives held in Iranian prisons.  Once released, the Iranian government transfers the prisoners to al-Suri, who then helps them transit to Pakistan,” Eytan Fisch, assistant director of the Treasury Department’s Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, told reporters.

Thursday's announcement marks the first time the Rewards for Justice program has offered a reward for a financier of terrorism.

Al-Suri and his network and collaborators were sanctioned by the Treasury Department in July for their role in support of al Qaeda, cutting them off from the U.S. financial system.  On Thursday, U.S. officials said those measures have been helpful in breaking al Qaeda’s financial backbone, but declined to specify how much, if any, money was frozen as a result of the sanctions.

The U.S. alleges al-Suri’s network operates under an agreement between al Qaeda and the Iranian government.

“Iranian authorities maintain a relationship with al-Suri and have allowed him to operate within Iran’s borders since 2005,” Fisch said.

Given al-Suri’s apparent protection by the Iranian government, it’s unclear what the United States would be able to do even if they are provided with information as to his whereabouts.

Since its launch in 1984, the Rewards for Justice program has paid out over a hundred million dollars to more than 70 people who have provided credible information that prevented terror attacks or fingered terrorists.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Treasury Department Maintains China is Not Manipulating Currency

ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- The U.S. Treasury Department announced on Friday that China was not unfairly manipulating the yuan.

The Treasury issues reports semiannually, and, in contrast with the more outspoken Obama administration, has always refrained from calling out the Chinese government on the controversial practice.

The report said that China does need to let its currency rise in value, indicating that the exchange rate of the renminbi is undervalued.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio ´╗┐


Nine Libyans Subject to US Sanctions 

Salah Malkawi/ Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Department of the Treasury Friday designated nine additional Libyans -- including Moammar Gadhafi’s wife and four of his seven sons -- who are now subject to U.S. sanctions and the freezing of their assets.

The move is partly motivated by a desire to encourage those around Gadhafi to defect.

The family members targeted are:

    * Gadhafi’s wife Safia Farkashl
    * His son Hannibal Gadhafi, head of the General Maritime Transport Company of Libya;
    * His son Saadi Gadhafi, Commander of Special Forces and Head of the Libyan Football Federation;
    * His son Muhammad Gadhafi, Chairman of the Libyan Olympic Committee and Chairman of the General Post and Telecommunications Company; and
    * His son Saif Al-Arab Gadhafi.

The senior officials designated Friday include:

    * Abu Bakr Yunis Jabir, the Libyan Minister of Defense;
    * Matuq Mohammad Matuq, Secretary General of the People’s Committee for Public Works;
    * Abu Zayd Umar Dorda, the Director of Libya’s External Security Organization; and
    * Abdullah Al-Senussi, the Director of Military Intelligence, whom the U.S. government accuses of organizing mass killings in Benghazi and recruiting foreign mercenaries. He is allegedly responsible for the deaths of 1,200 Islamists in Abu Selim prison.

“Today’s designation should send a strong signal to those responsible for the violence inflicted by Qadhafi and his government that the United States will continue steps to increase pressure and to hold them accountable,” said David Cohen, the acting undersecretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐


US Sanctions Pakistan Terror Groups

Photo Courtesy - ustreas dot gov(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Treasury Department has sanctioned the Pakistan based terror groups Lashkar-e Tayyiba (LET) and Jaish-e Mohammed (JEM) in an effort to target their financial and support networks.

"LET and JEM have proven both their willingness and ability to execute attacks against innocent civilians," said Stuart Levey, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, in a press release Thursday.

The department also took action against Azam Cheema, who it considers the mastermind behind the July 2006 Mumbai train bombings carried out by LET, as well as Hafiz Abdul Rahman Makki, the head of LET's political affairs department.

Al Rehmat Trust, an operational front for JEM, and Mohammed Masood Azhar Alvi, were also sanctioned for acting on behalf of JEM. 

The action will prohibit U.S. banks and companies from engaging in transactions with the individuals and entities. It will also freeze any assets the designees have under U.S. jurisdictions.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Treasury Department Exposes Continued Efforts by Iran to Avoid Shipping Sanctions

Photo Courtesy - US Treas dot gov(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Department of the Treasury Wednesday announced new sanctions on a number of individuals and entities tied to Iran’s shipping line. The sanctions are an effort to combat attempts by Iran to skirt sanctions imposed on the line in 2008, the department said.

The release designated 37 companies based in Germany, Malta and Cyprus, as well as five Iranian individuals that are believed to be owned, controlled by, or acting on behalf of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) and its affiliates. 

The Treasury Department said the sanctions further expose Iran’s attempts to advance its illicit weapons of mass destruction program and to carry military cargoes.

“We will continue to expose the elaborate structures and tactics Iran uses to shield its shipping line from international scrutiny so that it can continue to facilitate illicit commerce,” said Stuart Levey, Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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