Recent news from Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control: January 26

The Office of Foreign Assets Control took sanctions action over the last week in the terrorism, Iran, and cyber-related programs:

Terrorism-related Sanctions

  • OFAC Identifies Al-Huda Bank as a Primary Money Laundering Concern: OFAC on Jan. 29 identified Al-Huda Bank, an Iraqi bank that serves as a conduit for terrorist financing, as a foreign financial institution of primary money laundering concern. Along with its finding, FinCEN proposed a rule that would sever the bank from the U.S. financial system by prohibiting domestic financial institutions and agencies from opening or maintaining a correspondent account for or on behalf of Al-Huda Bank. In addition, OFAC is imposing sanctions on the bank’s owner, Hamad al-Moussawi. Read more. Read the proposed rule.
  • U.S. and UK Sanction Houthi Leadership: OFAC on Jan. 25 imposed sanctions on key officials of Ansarallah, commonly known as the Houthis, for their support to acts of terrorism targeting commercial shipping. OFAC’s action targets four individuals who have supported the Houthis’ recent attacks against commercial vessels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden–Mohamed al-Atifi (al-Atifi), Muhammad Fadl Abd al-Nabi (al-Nabi), Muhammad Ali al-Qadiri (al-Qadiri) and Muhammad Ahmad al-Talibi (al-Talibi). Concurrent with OFAC’s designations, the United Kingdom is also imposing sanctions on these key figures of Houthi forces. Read more.

Iran-related Sanctions

  • U.S. and UK Target Iranian Regime’s Assassinations Network: OFAC and its UK counterpart on Jan. 29 designated a network of individuals that targeted Iranian dissidents and opposition activists for assassination at the direction of the Iranian regime. The designated network is led by Iranian narcotics trafficker Naji Ibrahim Sharifi-Zindashti and operates with the support of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security. Zindashti’s network has carried out numerous acts of transnational repression including assassinations and kidnappings across multiple jurisdictions in an attempt to silence the Iranian regime’s critics. The network has also plotted operations in the United States. This action is being taken in conjunction with the unsealing of an indictment by the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The United Kingdom also designated Mohammad Reza Ansari, who was previously designated by OFAC. Read more.

Cyber-related Sanctions

  • U.S., UK and Australia Designates Russian Cyber Actor: OFAC, in coordination with Australia and the United Kingdom, designated Alexander Ermakov, a Russian cyber actor who played a role in the 2022 ransomware attack against Medibank Private Limited, an Australian healthcare insurer. During the attack, Ermakov stole Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and sensitive health information linked to approximately 9.7 million current and former customers and authorized representatives. Ermakov and the other actors behind the Medibank hack are believed to be linked to the Russia-backed cybercrime gang REvil. REvil is a ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) operation and has been deployed on approximately 175,000 computers worldwide, with at least $200 million paid in ransom. Read more.