The United States sanctions two Lebanese businessmen, a legislator for corruption

According to the decision, all assets and interests belonging to the three men in the United States will be blocked.

The US Treasury has imposed sanctions on two major Lebanese contractors and a lawmaker close to the Hezbollah movement for alleged large-scale corruption that undermined the rule of law in Lebanon.

Businessmen Jihad al-Arab and Dany Khoury, close to former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri and Christian politician Gebran Bassil respectively, were sanctioned for alleged corruption related to state contracts, a Treasury statement said on Thursday.

Lawmaker Jamil Sayyed was sanctioned for allegedly seeking to “circumvent national banking policies and regulations” and transferring $ 120 million abroad, “allegedly to enrich himself and his associates,” according to the statement.

“The Lebanese people deserve an end to the endemic corruption perpetuated by businessmen and politicians who have led their country into an unprecedented crisis,” said the director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control, Andrea M. Gacki.

“Now is the time to implement the necessary economic reforms and end the corrupt practices that erode Lebanon’s foundations. The Treasury will not hesitate to use its tools to address impunity in Lebanon, “he added.

As a result of the decision, “all assets and interests” belonging to the three men in the United States will be blocked.

According to the Treasury statement, al-Arab is a wealthy businessman who has won multiple public contracts in exchange for bribe payments to government officials.

He said that the al-Arab company won an 18 million dollar contract to restore a Beirut bridge, “the concerns of city officials about the cost of the project and the safety-related issues were quickly overridden, almost certainly as result of al-Arab’s relationship with powerful politicians ”.

Also a wealthy businessman, Khoury, who is a close associate of Gibran Bassil, designated by the United States, has been “the recipient of large public contracts that have reaped millions of dollars without significantly fulfilling the terms of those contracts.” said the Treasury. .

During protests against the 2019 system that swept across the country, Sayyed allegedly called on officials to shoot and kill protesters as they protested in front of his home demanding their resignation, according to the statement.

Two years ago, massive protests across the country demanded accountability for rampant corruption and financial mismanagement, as well as the end of decades of rule at the hands of the country’s sectarian leaders.

A common call among protesters at the time was an independent judiciary to investigate corrupt politicians and businessmen.

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