Despite UAE’s great news: Dubai airport has ranked higher than Heathrow International for more air traffic, neighboring emirate of Sharjah has drawn the negative attention for supplying the Syrian regime with petroleum products. On July 9th, Wednesday, the U.S. Treasury added Pangates to the U.S. sanctions list for supplying specialty petroleum products to the Syrian government and blacklisted two additional Syrian companies, Expert Partners and Megatrade, according to Reuters. Both Syrian companies aided the regime in acquiring ballistic missiles used against its own people.
The Syrian government’s continued violence against its own people is abhorrent,” -Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen.
The U.S. has long been a fan of using sanctions as a tool in the MENA region in conjunction with other tools, to stem terrorist or perceived conflict activities. Iran is a case in point regarding its nuclear program. At the same time, the U.S. has been noted to also arm countries’ regimes that have also been sanctioned, like Iran, during the Iran-Contra Affair during the 1980s.
At the outbreak of Syria’s revolution turned crisis in 2011, the U.S. Treasury Department added Syrian dictator, Bashar al Assad, and his top 15 associates, to the list of sanctioned persons and entities.
The sanctions tool is most certainly a favorite tool. Last week on July 10th, the U.S. Treasury Department announced sanctions against Kamel and Issam Mohamad Amhaz, who run the Stars Group Holidng company in Beirut, Lebanon for ties to Hezbollah. The full press release is posted below for more details. Stars Group is reported to have subsidiaries in the United Arab Emirates and China.
Dubai’s Airport Ready to Take on Busiest Airport Hub Title
As Dubai airport’s importance increases due to its increased business traffic to parts of the MENA region, that’s where the good news in MENA ends for now.
Egypt’s Debt Crisis… Continues.
The Elbawaba news site reported that Egypt’s financial reserves dropped drastically due to Gulf Cooperation Council countries’ (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the UAE) decision to suspend aid in the amount of 12 billion dollars–with estimates as high as 20 billion dollars since Mohamed Morsi’s ousters in June, 2013.
Egypt’s net international foreign reserves fell by $600m, recording $16.68bn at the end of June, down from $17.28m in May, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) announced on Monday.
Foreign reserves are now the lowest since the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, when they saw a jump following a total Gulf aid package of $12bn, in the form of cash grants, deposits and petroleum products.
Low financial reserves partially explain why the Sisi government enacted subsidy reform on petroleum products assistance to Egyptians. In Sisi’s speech last week, he called upon Egyptians to swallow the “bitter pill” of cut fuel subsidies while calling upon the wealthiest segment to donate to Egypt’s development. Although the first part of his call to the Egyptians will become a reality, the second part will not.
Treasury Sanctions Procurement Agents Of Hizballah Front Company Based In Lebanon With Subsidiaries In The UAE And China
Action Targets Company’s Owners and Several Managers Responsible for Supporting Hizballah’s Global Procurement Operations
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury targeted a key Hizballah procurement network today by designating brothers Kamel and Issam Mohamad Amhaz, their consumer electronics business Stars Group Holding based in Beirut, Lebanon, its subsidiaries, and certain managers and individuals who support their illicit activities. Today’s actions were taken pursuant to E.O. 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists, or acts of terrorism. As a result of today’s action, all assets of those designated today that are based in the United States or in control by U.S. persons are frozen, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them. Today’s action highlights Hizballah’s continued reliance on companies for material support, including the procurement of material used to enhance the group’s military capabilities.
Hizballah has used the Stars Group Holding network to covertly purchase sophisticated electronics and other technology from suppliers across the world. Items obtained by Hizballah using the Stars Group Holding network have directly supported the group’s military capabilities, including the development of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which have been used most recently to support Hizballah’s military activities in Syria and to conduct surveillance operations in Israel.
“With disturbing reach far beyond Lebanon, Hizballah’s extensive procurement networks exploit the international financial system to enhance its military capabilities in Syria and its terrorist activities worldwide,” said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen. “This global terrorist activity and expanding criminal network belie Hizballah’s claimed purpose as a national liberation movement. It is critical that countries throughout the world work together to combat this dangerous organization and sever it from sources of revenue and support.”
Beirut-based Stars Group Holding is owned and managed by President and Chief Executive Officer Kamel Mohamad Amhaz and company Chairman Issam Mohamad Amhaz. In addition to the company’s Lebanon-based businesses, Treasury-designated Stars Group Holding maintains subsidiaries in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Unique Stars Mobile Phones LLC, and Guangzhou, China, Stars International Ltd. Today’s action also targets Ayman Ibrahim, who serves as the General Manager of Unique Stars Mobile Phones LLC, and Ali Zeaiter who is the General Manager of Stars International Ltd.
Over the past three years, Stars Group Holding, Kamel Mohamad Amhaz, Issam Mohamad Amhaz, Ayman Ibrahim, and Ali Zeaiter have used these China- and UAE-based subsidiaries to acquire a range of engines, communications, electronics, and navigation equipment from companies in the United States, Asia, Canada, and Europe for Hizballah’s use in UAVs and for other projects. These individuals and entities have relied on false end-user certificates, mislabeled air waybills, and other fraudulent methods to avoid export restrictions and otherwise conceal Hizballah as the ultimate end-user or beneficiary of these goods.
In addition to the Stars Group Holding owners, managers, and companies described above, Treasury is also designating Hanna Elias Khalifeh, a Hizballah member and Lebanese businessman who has worked directly with Stars Group Holding network managers to facilitate these procurement activities on behalf of Hizballah.
The following Beirut-based subsidiaries of Stars Group Holding were also designated by Treasury today: Stars Communications Ltd., Teleserve Plus Sal, Stars Communications Offshore Sal, and Fastlink SARL.
Individual 1: KAMEL MOHAMAD AMHAZ
AKA: Kamel Mohamed Amhaz
AKA: Kamel Amhaz
AKA: Kamel Al-Amhaz
AKA: Kamil Amhaz
DOB: 04 August 1973
Passport: RL2244333, Lebanon
ID No: 61 Niha El-Mehfara
Address 1: 5th Floor, Ghadir Building, Kods Street, Haret Hreik (Baabda), Lebanon
Address 2: Ghadir, 5th Floor, Safarat, Bir Hassan, Jenah, Lebanon
Address 3: Ghadir, 5th Floor, Embassies Street, Bir Hasan, Lebanon
Address 4: Dallas Center, Saida Old Street, Chiah, Baabda, Lebanon
Occupation: President & Chief Executive Officer, Stars Group Holding
Individual 2: ISSAM MOHAMAD AMHAZ
AKA: Issam Mohamed Amhaz
AKA: ‘Isam Amhaz
DOB: 04 March 1967
POB: Baalbek, Lebanon
Passport: RL0000199, Lebanon
ID No: 61 Nabha
Address 1: Ghadir, 5th Floor, Safarat, Bir Hassan, Jenah, Lebanon
Address 2: Issam Mohamad Amhaz Property, Ambassades (Safarate), Bir Hassan Area, Ghobeiri (Baabda), Lebanon
Occupation: Chairman, Stars Group Holding
Occupation: General Manager, Teleserve Plus Sal
Individual 3: AYMAN IBRAHIM
AKA: Ayman Ahmad Ibrahim
DOB: 01 April 1979
POB: ‘Adlun, Lebanon
Occupation: General Manager, Unique Stars Mobile Phones LLC
Individual 4: ALI ZEAITER
AKA: Ali Zoeiter
AKA: ‘Ali Zu’aytar
AKA: Ali Husayn Zu’aytir
DOB: 24 February 1977
Passport 1: RL1924321, Lebanon
Passport 2: RL0877465, Lebanon
Address 1: No. 351 Tianhe Road, Tianhe District, Guangzhou, China
Address 2: Room 2203A, Grand Tower, No. 228 Tianhe Road, Tianhe District, Guangzhou, China
Address 3: Room 2203A, Guangcheng Building, No. 228 Tianhe Road, Guangzhou, China
Address 4: 204 No. 253 Tianhebei Road, Guangzhou, China
Occupation: General Manager, Stars International Ltd.
Individual 5: HANNA ELIAS KHALIFEH
AKA: Hanna Khalifah
AKA: Hanna Khalife
DOB: 09 July 1955
Passport: RL2033216, Lebanon
Address 1: Midan Street, Mazraat Yachouh, Metn, Lebanon
Address 2: Asaad Karam Building, Midan Street, Mazraat Yachouh, Lebanon
Parent Company: STARS GROUP HOLDING
AKA: Stars Group Sal (Holding)
AKA: Stars Group Holding SAL
Number: 1901453, Beirut, Lebanon
Registered Office: Property Number 5208/62, Issam Mohamed Amha, 6th Floor, Dallas Center, Old Saida Road, C, Lebanon
Commerce Number: 317211
Mailing Address: Postal Box 13-5483, Lebanon
Address 1: Bdeir Building, Snoubra Street, Bir El-Abed Area, Haret Hreik, Baabda, Lebanon
Address 2: Bir El Abed, Hadi Nasrallah Highway, Middle East & Africa Bank Building, First Floor, Beirut, Lebanon
Address 3: Old Saida Road, Dallas Center, 6th Floor, Beirut, Lebanon
Webpage URL: www.starscom.net
Subsidiary 1: UNIQUE STARS MOBILE PHONES LLC
AKA: Unique Stars LLC
File Number: 591610, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Commerce Number: 116340
Registered Office: Postal Box 98498, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Mailing Address: Postal Box 98498, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Location 1: Al Maktoum Road, Deira, Al Kabira Building, First Floor, Office #103, PO Box 98498, Dubai, UAE
Location 2: Office 103, 1st Floor, Sheikh Rashed Building, Al Maktoum Road, Deira, DXB Municipality, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Location 3: Gargash Center, Nasser Square, Shop No. 41, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Subsidiary 2: STARS INTERNATIONAL LTD
AKA: Stars International Co. Ltd
Location 1: Room 2203A, Grand Tower, No. 228 TianHe Road, TianHe District, Guangzhou P.R., China
Location 2: F-18, Dubai Airport Free Zone, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Subsidiary 3: STARS COMMUNICATIONS LTD
AKA: Stars Communications Ltd Sarl
AKA: Stars Communications LLC
AKA: Stars Communications
Registration Number: 2001929, Baabda
Location 1: Hadi Nasrallah Av, MEAB Building, 1st Floor, Beirut, Lebanon
Location 2: Bir el Abed, Snoubra Street, Haret Hreyk, Beirut, Lebanon
Location 3: Tayyouneh, Haret Hreyk, Beirut, Lebanon
Location 4: Port, Nahr, Beirut, Lebanon
Location 5: Ras El Ain, Baalbeck, Lebanon
Location 6: Hadeth, Lebanon
Location 7: Nabatiyeh, Lebanon
Location 8: Old Saida Road, Beirut Mall, Beirut, Lebanon
Location 9: Duty-Free Airport, Rafik Hariri International Airport, Beirut, Lebanon
Location 10: Sharl Helo Street, Beirut Seaport, Lebanon
Location 11: Kamil Shamoun Street, Dekwaneh, Beirut, Lebanon
Location 12: Hermel, Lebanon
Subsidiary 4: TELESERVE PLUS SAL
File Number: 2004609, Baabda, Lebanon
Registered Office: 4th Floor, Dalas Center, Old Saida Road, Chiyah (Baabda), Lebanon
Mailing Address: Postal Box 13-5483, Lebanon
Address 1: 6th Floor, Dallas Center, Old Saida Avenue, Beirut, Lebanon
Address 2: 6th Floor, Dallas Center, Old Saida Road, Chiyah, Baabda, Lebanon
Subsidiary 5: STARS COMMUNICATIONS OFFSHORE SAL
AKA: Stars Communications Offshore
AKA: Stars Communication Sal Off-Shore
AKA: Stars Offshore
Registration Number: 1801374, Baabda
Location 1: Hojeij Building, 2nd Floor, Zaghloul Street, Haret Hreik, Baabda, Lebanon
Location 2: Bdeir Building, Ground Floor, Snoubra Street, Ghobeiry, Baabda, Lebanon
Location 3: Hadi Nasrallah Av, MEAB Building, 1st Floor, Beirut, Lebanon
Subsidiary 6: FASTLINK SARL
AKA: Fast Link SAL
Location 1: Hadi Nasrallah Av, MEAB Building, 1st Floor, Beirut, Lebanon
Location 2: Cendrella Street, Dalas Center, Chyah, Baabda, Lebanon
Location 3: Dallas, 6th Floor, Saida Old Road, Chiyah, Beirut, Lebanon