United States

Two Lebanese officials were sanctioned by the US for corruption and their support to Hezbollah

The United States has imposed sanctions on Tuesday to the top political aide to Lebanon’s parliament speaker, Nabih Berri, and the country’s former Public Works Minister Youssef Fenianos for corruption and their support to Hezbollah backed by Iran.

Senior US officials informed reporters that the Former Finance Minister Ali Hasan Khalil and Fenianos were charged for planning with Hezbollah against the Lebanese people and institutions. The officials said to reporters in a phone announcement that the two Lebanese officials showed their positions of power to line their own pockets and betrayed the public trust.

Moreover, the officials reported that the US would not hesitate to sanction any other individual supporting and enabling Hezbollah’s illicit activities. While one of the officials declared: The two former ministers really exemplify the old corrupt way of doing business among the Lebanese political elite.

The official also said that Khalil, viewed as the head political aide to Berri, attempted to press for reduced US sanctions to get Hezbollah to get money moving. He was the finance minister from 2014 until the beginning of 2020. He also refused to sign contracts by attempting to shake down contractors and demand kickbacks.

Whereas, Fenianos, a senior aide to Marada Movement chief and former presidential candidate Sleiman Frangieh, involved in public corruption by turning funds from his ministry in order to bolster his political allies, and he was the public works minister from 2016 until the beginning of 2020.

Otherwise, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reported that Lebanese political heads had neglected their responsibility to address the needs of their people and instead built a political system that services their private interests.

He also said: While holding positions in previous Lebanese cabinets, Fenianos and Khalil directed political and economic favors to Hezbollah, including ensuring Hezbollah-owned companies won government contracts worth millions of dollars and moving money from government ministries to Hezbollah-associated institutions.

Furthermore, Pompeo declared that the US would remain to support the appeal from the Lebanese people to make an end to corruption and political stagnation. While US Assistant Secretary of State, David Schenker, reported later Tuesday that more sanctions should be expected.

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