U.S. Treasury Freezes Assets of Two Venezuelan's Linked to Hezbollah

The U.S. Treasury said Wednesday it had moved to freeze the assets of two Venezuelans it accused of supporting Hezbollah, including a Venezuelan government diplomatic official.

The Treasury said in a statement it had designated Ghazi Nasr al-Din and Fawzi Kan'an under an executive order which targets terrorists and those providing financial or material support to terrorism. The action prohibits Americans from doing business with them and freezes any assets they may have under U.S. jurisdiction.

The Treasury said Nasr al-Din had served until recently as charge d'affaires at the Venezuelan Embassy in Damascus and was subsequently appointed director of political aspects at the Venezuelan Embassy in Lebanon.

The Treasury action also blacklisted two Caracas-based travel agencies owned and operated by Kan'an, Biblios Travel and Hilal Travel. The Treasury said Kan'an has facilitated travel for Hezbollah members and sent money raised in Venezuela to Hezbollah officials in Lebanon.

"It is extremely troubling to see the government of Venezuela employing and providing safe harbor to Hezbollah facilitators and fund-raisers," Adam Szubin, director of the Treasury's sanctions arm, the Office of Foreign Assets Control, said in a statement.

He said Nasr al-Din has counseled Hezbollah donors on fund-raising efforts and provided donors with specific information on bank accounts where deposits would go directly to Hezbollah.

In a separate action, Treasury said it had added to its terrorism blacklist two Uzbekistan-based leaders of the Islamic Jihad Union, a group it said was affiliated with al-Qaeda and wants to overthrow the Uzbek government.

Treasury said the action also bans U.S. dealings with and attempts to freeze assets of Najmiddin Kamolitdinovic Jalolov and Suhayl Fatilloevich Buranov, whom it said were organizers of suicide bombings in 2004 in Tashkent that killed at least 47 people.