Fletcher in the News

U.S. Treasury Blacklists Lebanese Phone Distributor: Professor Warde Weighs In

Executive Magazine

Ibrahim Warde, adjunct professor of international business at the Fletcher School

Last month the United States Treasury Department singled out local company Stars Group Holding for alleged ties to Hezbollah, adding the company, several subsidiaries and associated individuals to its ‘specially designated nationals’ (SDN) list. As part of its accusation, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said that these entities operate as a procurement front, purchasing sophisticated electronics for Hezbollah to use in the ongoing conflict in Syria.

“With disturbing reach far beyond Lebanon, Hezbollah’s extensive procurement networks exploit the international financial system to enhance its military capabilities in Syria and its terrorist activities worldwide,” David Cohen, the Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement released on July 10.

…For Stars Group Holding and the designated affiliates, the accusation may have drastic consequences. “It will make it very difficult for Stars Group Holding. It will affect their ability to operate,” explained Abbe Jolles, a criminal defense and international human rights litigator based in Washington.

This will be accomplished indirectly. “Most companies will stop working with them, and I would not be surprised if local banks stopped dealing with them,” explained Ibrahim Warde, an expert in underground financing at [the Fletcher School at] Tufts University.

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