U.S. Announces New Sanctions Against Firms in UAE & Lebanon

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.



Identifying Information

Individual 1:               KAMEL MOHAMAD AMHAZ

AKA:                          Kamel Mohamed Amhaz  

AKA:                          Kamel Amhaz

AKA:                          Kamel Al-Amhaz

AKA:                          Kamil Amhaz

DOB:                          04 August 1973

Nationality:                 Lebanon

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

Nationality:                 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

Nationality:                 Lebanon

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

Nationality:                 Lebanon

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

Chamber of

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

Chamber of

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 

AKA:                          Teleserveplus


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

Webpage:                    www.teleserveplus.com



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





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