A congressional panel Thursday approved a measure requiring the White House to publicly report on the financial networks used by Iran and Hezbollah in South America to evade U.S. financial sanctions. The Countering Iran in the Western Hemisphere Act, which passed the U.S. House Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade by voice vote, would require the U.S. Secretary of State to report within six months on Latin American and Canadian financial networks allegedly exploited by Iranian officials and the blacklisted Shiite organization. The bill, which has 63 cosponsors, would also require the White House to draft a plan to stymie...
Latin America's economic growth has outpaced its development of institutions tasked with fighting financial crime, according to Monica Arruda de Almeida, an adjunct assistant professor for the Center for Latin American Studies at Georgetown University who researches transnational regulation.
A bipartisan bill targeting banks that offer financial services to Hezbollah is likely to garner broad political support among U.S. lawmakers, according to advocates of strong counterterrorist measures.
A European Union decision to impose sanctions on Hezbollah's military wing will also compel financial institutions in Europe to comb their accounts for links to the group's social services and fundraising arms.
The government of Iran and banks under its influence are increasingly using investments in foreign financial institutions as a means to circumvent sanctions, including restrictions on interbank messages, say sources.
American sanctions enforcers will "primarily" focus in coming months on blacklisting Chinese firms that buy and resell defense industry or dual-use goods to Iran, a U.S. Justice Department official said Wednesday.