Statement by Secretary Michael R. Pompeo
Lebanon’s political leaders have long exploited the lack of transparency in Lebanon’s economy to conceal their self-enrichment, while pretending they are defending the rights of their people. Despite its claims to the contrary, the terrorist group Hizballah is every bit as involved in this deception as other actors.
Today, the United States is designating two Hizballah-linked companies and one Hizballah official pursuant to Executive Order 13224 as amended. The United States is designating Arch Consulting and Meamar Construction for being owned, controlled, or directed by Hizballah, a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization and Specially Designated Global Terrorist. We are designating Sultan Khalifa As’ad for being a leader or an official of Hizballah.
Arch Consulting and Meamar Construction are two of many companies subordinate to Hizballah’s Executive Council, and Hizballah has used these companies to conceal its economic activity and evade U.S. sanctions. Hizballah collaborated with former Lebanese Minister Yusuf Finyanus to ensure that Arch and Meamar won Lebanese government contracts worth millions of dollars, and the companies sent a portion of those funds to Hizballah’s Executive Council. The United States designated Finyanus on September 8 for abusing his cabinet position to provide material support to Hizballah. Arch Consulting was previously part of and continues to provide funds to Jihad al-Bina, a prominent Hizballah construction company designated by the United States in 2007. Sultan Khalifa As’ad oversees Arch, Meamar, and other Hizballah companies in his position on Hizballah’s Executive Council, where he helps manage the terrorist group’s municipal affairs. As’ad coordinates directly with Hashim Safi al-Din, head of Hizballah’s Executive Council, to guide the activities of Arch, Meamar, and other Hizballah companies.
This scheme involving political leaders directing contracts to political allies while enriching themselves is exactly the type of corruption against which the Lebanese people are protesting. Hizballah exploits Lebanon’s corrupt system just like other parties, as today’s designations and our September 8 designation of former ministers demonstrate. The Lebanese people have been demonstrating against corruption for nearly a year and demanding that their government address their basic needs after decades of political dysfunction. The Lebanese people deserve better, and the United States will continue to support their calls for an end to corruption and more responsive governance.