US targets Hezbollah financier with sanctions
WASHINGTON D.C. - The United States levied sanctions Friday against six individuals and seven business with alleged links to Hezbollah financier Adham Tabaja, the White House said.
The Lebanese businessman is believed by US authorities to be one of the group's top five money men, with ties spanning the Middle East and Africa.
It will be a "very bad day for" Tabaja, said a senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The sanctions, which are aimed his managers and at companies based in Lebanon, Sierra Leone and Ghana, include trade bans and assets freezes.
They are said to be the first in a "wave" of sanctions targeting Hezbollah after a policy review by President Donald Trump's administration.
The Trump White House is keen to signal a tougher stance on Hezbollah and its Iranian backers.
They argue that president Barack Obama was not aggressive enough in cracking down on Hezbollah financing for fear of derailing a major deal aimed at stopping Iran for getting nuclear weapons.
According to second senior administration official, Hezbollah receives most of its operating budget -- about $700 million a year -- from the Iranian government and takes orders from the country's elite Revolutionary Guards.