UK sanctions Lebanese man for ‘financing Hezbollah’

London: The UK government on Tuesday said it had imposed a full asset freeze on a Lebanese businessman suspected of financing Hezbollah.

The Treasury action against Nazem Said Ahmad on national security grounds follows similar restrictions imposed in 2019 by the United States.

“All assets and economic resources belonging to Ahmad in the UK have been frozen and no UK person may do business with him or any of the companies he owns or controls,” a statement read.

London proscribed Hezbollah’s External Security Organisation as a terrorist organisation in 2001. The ban was extended to all of its military apparatus seven years later.

The Iran-backed Shiite movement is a key political player in Lebanon.

According to the Treasury, Ahmad has an extensive art collection in the UK and conducts business with UK-based artists, galleries and auction houses.

The sanctions mean he will no longer be able to trade in the UK art market and no other dealers will be able to do business with him or his companies.

In December 2019, the US Treasury described Ahmad as “one of Hezbollah’s top donors, generating funds through his longstanding ties to the ‘blood diamond’ trade”.

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