The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on Thursday designated two business associates of a sanctioned al-Qa’ida financial facilitator and external operations plotter. The two individuals designated today are Mohamad Irshad Mohamad Haris Nizar, a Sri Lankan, and Musab Turkmen, who conducted businesses activities to assist Ahmed Luqman Talib (Talib), who was previously designated by OFAC for facilitating the international movement of individuals and finances in furtherance of al-Qa’ida’s objectives.
Issuing a press release, the Department of the Treasury said Australian authorities arrested Talib on 25 March2021 and, days later charged him with plotting incursions into foreign states for the purpose of engaging in hostile activities.
“Treasury is taking this action to further disrupt a transnational al-Qa’ida financial facilitation and operational plotting network,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian E. Nelson. “The United States continues to work with our foreign partners to counter the operational and financial activities of al-Qa’ida and its associates, wherever they may be.”
These individuals are being designated pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended, which targets terrorist groups and their supporters. OFAC designated Talib pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, on October 19, 2020, for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, al-Qa’ida. Talib conducted business around the world, including in Brazil, Colombia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Türkiye, and the Gulf.
Mohamad Irshad Mohamad Haris Nizar (Nizar) is a Sri Lanka-based business partner of Talib. As of mid-2018, Talib and Nizar were joint representatives of the same business. Nizar has been Talib’s business partner in Sri Lanka since at least late 2018. Their business dealings in Sri Lanka have generated nearly $200,000 per year in profit; the majority of Talib’s income was derived from one-third of those proceeds. Nizar is also a relative of Talib.
Nizar is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Talib.Musab Turkmen (Turkmen) is Talib’s Türkiye-based brother-in-law and business partner. As of late 2018, Turkmen had land investments in Türkiye with Talib.
Turkmen is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, Talib.
As a result of Thursday’s action, all property and interests in property of the individuals named above, and of any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by them, individually, or with other blocked persons, that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC. Unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC or otherwise exempt, OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or within the United States (including transactions transiting the United States) that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons.
Furthermore, engaging in certain transactions with the individuals designated today entails risk of secondary sanctions pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended. Pursuant to this authority, OFAC can prohibit or impose strict conditions on the opening or maintaining in the United States of a correspondent account or a payable-through account of a foreign financial institution that knowingly conducted or facilitated any significant transaction on behalf of a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.
The power and integrity of OFAC sanctions derive not only from its ability to designate and add persons to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List), but also from its willingness to remove persons from the SDN List consistent with the law. The ultimate goal of sanctions is not to punish, but to bring about a positive change in behavior. For information concerning the process for seeking removal from any OFAC list, including the SDN List, please refer to OFAC’s Frequently Asked Question 897.