Action Targets a Senior Syrian Air Force Intelligence Officer,
Two Cypriot Companies and One Lebanese Company and their Directors,
Four Syrian State-Owned Banks, and Two Senior Syrian Government Officials
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury today further increased pressure on the Syrian regime by sanctioning one senior Syrian military officer responsible for human rights abuses and 12 individuals and entities in several countries for acting for, providing support to, or for being senior officials of, the Syrian regime.
Qusay Mihoub, a Brigadier General in the Syrian Air Force Intelligence (SAFI), was designated pursuant to E.O. 13572 for his role in human rights abuses in Syria and as a SAFI senior official. Piruseti Enterprises Ltd. (Piruseti) and Frumineti Investments Ltd. (Frumineti), two Cyprus-based companies, and their directors, Issa al-Zeydi and Ioannis Ioannou, along with the Lebanon-based DK Group Sari (DK Group), and its general manager Jad Dagher, were designated pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13582 for their material support to the Syrian regime. Four banks were identified as being owned or controlled by the Government of Syria and sanctioned pursuant to E.O. 13582. Finally, two individuals, Khodr Orfali and Kamal Eddin Tu’ma, were designated pursuant to E.O. 13573 for being senior officials of the Government of Syria.
“We will continue to increase economic and financial pressure on the Syrian regime so long as it commits egregious human rights violations and attacks its own people,” said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen. “Our actions today reaffirm our commitment to target any individual or entity that supports the illegitimate rule of Bashar al-Assad and is responsible for the regime’s brutality against Syrian civilians.”
Commission of Human Rights Abuses in Syria (E.O. 13572)
Qusay Mihoub was designated for being responsible for or complicit in, or responsible for ordering, controlling, or otherwise directing, or having participated in, the commission of human rights abuses in Syria, as well as for being a senior official in SAFI, an entity previously designated pursuant to E.O. 13572.
At the outset of the protests against the Syrian regime in 2011, Mihoub, a Brigadier General, was placed in command of SAFI’s Daraa Branch. In that role, Mihoub ordered his unit to “stop the protestors by all possible means,” which included the use of lethal force. Under Mihoub’s command, the SAFI Daraa Branch was responsible for human rights abuses and the deaths of hundreds of civilians, including targeted assassinations. These abuses included the shooting, beating, detainment, and burning alive of civilians, as well as the use of torture against detainees, including beatings and electric shock.
Provision of Support to the Syrian Regime (E.O. 13582)
Piruseti and Frumineti, two Cypriot companies, were designated for materially assisting, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services in support of, and acting for or on behalf of the Government of Syria. Al-Zeydi and Ioannou were designated for acting for or on behalf of Piruseti and Frumineti.
In late 2012, Tempbank, a Russian bank previously sanctioned by the United States, issued a letter of credit by the order of Piruseti on behalf of the Central Bank of Syria. In July 2013, Syrian banking and trade officials were involved in Piruseti’s payment of a promissory note worth the equivalent of over $4 million to a European energy company. A Russian bank, acting on behalf of Piruseti, paid a promissory note to the energy company, with Piruseti acting on behalf of the Central Bank of Syria to initiate this transaction.
As of January 2014, a draft contract was drawn up between Russia-based currency printer Goznak and Cyprus-based Frumineti, in which Goznak would manufacture hundreds of millions of Syrian 1,000 pound-denominated banknotes for Frumineti on behalf of the Central Bank of
Syria. The total face value of the banknotes would be tens of billions of Syrian pounds, the equivalent of several billion U.S. dollars.
As of May 2014, Ioannou was suspected of involvement in aiding the Syrian government in circumventing sanctions. Ioannou held positions in companies including Piruseti and Frumineti that were known to have been illicit procurement agents of the Central Bank of Syria and the U.S.-sanctioned entity Scientific Studies and Research Center, Syria’s government agency responsible for developing and producing non-conventional weapons and ballistic missiles. As of May 2014, Piruseti and Frumineti were front companies to which the Syrian government and their financial supporters could turn should one or more other front companies be rendered unusable.
Al-Zeydi is a company director of Piruseti and holds 100 percent of the voting capital. He is also a director for Frumineti. Ioannou was named a director of Piruseti on March 27, 2012.
DK Group was designated for materially assisting, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services in support of the Government of Syria. Jad Dagher was designated for acting for or on behalf of DK Group and for materially assisting, sponsoring, or providing financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services in support of the Government of Syria.
DK Group, a Lebanese company, specializes in the development and manufacturing of highly secure banknotes. As of March 2014, Goznak arranged to ship Syrian pound banknotes from Russia to the Central Bank of Syria. Dagher, the general manager of Goznak’s official regional representative, DK Group, worked to facilitate the transportation of the banknotes from Russia to Syria via third-country cargo flights.
Identification as Being Owned or Controlled by the Government of Syria (E.O. 13582)
The Agricultural Cooperative Bank, Industrial Bank, Popular Credit Bank, and Saving Bank, were all identified as being owned or controlled by the Government of Syria.
Syrian Regime Officials (E.O. 13573)
Khodr Orfali was designated for being the Syrian Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade.
Kamal Eddin Tu’ma was designated for being the Syrian Minister of Industry.
Today’s action freezes any assets the designees may have under U.S. jurisdiction and generally prohibits all financial and commercial transactions by any U.S. person with the designees.
For identifier information on the individuals and entities designated today, please click here.