US sanctions Trinidad and Tobago nationals as key ISIS financial facilitators

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By Caribbean News Now contributor

WASHINGTON, USA — The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on Wednesday designated two Trinidad and Tobago nationals as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) financiers pursuant to a presidential executive order, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism.

The two individuals are:

Emraan Ali, born July 4, 1967, a Syria-based, dual US and Trinidadian national, was designated for acting for or on behalf of ISIS. He holds a Trinidad and Tobago passport no. TB162181 and a national ID no. 19670704052.

Ali has been involved in money transfers from Trinidad and Tobago to Syria in support of ISIS. As of January 2017, Ali would receive and provide funds to Trinidadian ISIS fighters. For several years, a number of citizens of Trinidad and Tobago in Syria received money transfers through Ali. In the summer of 2015, Ali lived at an ISIS guest house in Syria and had been assigned to Raqqah, Syria.

Eddie Aleong, aka Ishmael Mohammed, aka Ishmail Muhammad, aka Isma’il ‘Ali Yong, born August 14, 1984, a Trinidad-based Trinidadian national, was designated for assisting in, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for, or financial or other services to or in support of ISIS. He holds a Trinidad and Tobago national ID no. 19840814025 and identification number 752536B.

As of March 2018, Aleong facilitated money transfers to ISIS members in ISIS-controlled territory. As of January 2017, a Trinidadian ISIS supporter possibly planned to work with Aleong to transfer funds to Emraan Ali, who would then provide the funds to Trinidadian ISIS fighters in Syria.

“While coalition efforts have led to the collapse of ISIS’s self-declared caliphate, Treasury continues to aggressively target financiers supporting ISIS’s radical agenda. We are sanctioning individuals involved in financial facilitation to obstruct and deter ISIS financial operations in regions across the world,” said Sigal Mandelker, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. “Our actions coincide with the tenth meeting of the Counter-ISIS Finance Group (CIFG), which includes 52 countries and international organizations committed to disrupting critical sources of ISIS revenue to permanently prevent ISIS from accessing the international financial system.”

Wednesday’s designations are part of Treasury’s and the broader US government’s ongoing and concerted efforts to disrupt ISIS-related financial activities around the globe. Throughout 2018, the Departments of the Treasury and State targeted ISIS branches, facilitators, and networks in Bangladesh, Iraq, Somalia, the Philippines, and across West and North Africa. The US government said it will continue taking disruptive action to prevent ISIS from exploiting the financial system to fund its operations.

As a result of Wednesday’s action, all property and interests in property of these persons subject to US jurisdiction are blocked and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.

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