Takes New Action to Isolate the Assad Regime from the
WASHINGTON – The
U.S. Department of the Treasury today designated the Syria International
Islamic Bank (SIIB) pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13382 for acting for or
on behalf of the Commercial Bank of Syria and providing services to the Syrian
Lebanese Commercial Bank, both of which are subject to U.S. and international
sanctions. SIIB has acted as a front for the Commercial Bank of Syria, which has
allowed that ban – Syria’s largest commercial bank – to circumvent sanctions
against it by the United States, the European Union and the Arab League.
“Today’s action will add to the
economic pressure on the Assad regime by closing off a key evasion route. The
Treasury Department, working with others around the world who share our goal of
ending the brutal repression of the Syrian people, will continue to close off
the Assad regime’s access to the international financial system,” said Under
Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen.
SIIB was established in Damascus in
September 2007 and has 20 branches and three representative offices throughout
Syria. From 2011 to 2012, SIIB surreptitiously facilitated financing worth
almost $150 million on behalf of the Commercial Bank of Syria. Financial
arrangements that were purportedly made by SIIB were actually made by the
Commercial Bank of Syria. In addition to working with the Commercial Bank of
Syria to circumvent sanctions, in 2012, SIIB facilitated several substantial
payments for the Syrian Lebanese Commercial Bank, and facilitated a payment
from this designated bank to an entity of proliferation concern.
The Treasury Department designated
the Commercial Bank of Syria and its subsidiary, Syrian Lebanese Commercial
Bank, under E.O. 13382 on August 10, 2011, based on the Commercial Bank of
Syria’s support to entities related to Syrian and North Korean proliferation of
weapons of mass destruction. To view the August 2011 designation click here.
The Treasury Department is working
closely with partners in the international community to isolate the Assad
regime from the international financial system.
With respect to today’s action, the U.S. Government consulted with the
Government of Qatar on the designation of SIIB under E.O. 13382, and the
Government of Qatar is taking corresponding actions. We commend the
Government of Qatar for its important regional and international role in
maintaining economic pressure on the Assad regime. Today's action does not
target the Qatari investors who hold investments in SIIB.
Moreover, on June 6, Treasury will
host in Washington the second meeting of the Friends of the Syrian People
International Working Group on Sanctions. The meeting, which the United States
will co-chair with the governments of Turkey and Qatar, will focus on ways to
further strengthen international sanctions against the Syrian regime.
Executive Order (E.O.) 13382, signed on June 28, 2005, is an authority
aimed at freezing the assets of proliferators of weapons of mass destruction
and their supporters, and at isolating them from the U.S. financial and
commercial systems. Designations under E.O. 13382 generally prohibit
transactions between the designees and any U.S. person, and freeze any assets
the designees may have under U.S. jurisdiction. Section 1(a)(iii) of E.O. 13382
provides for the designation of persons who have provided, or attempted to
provide, financial, material, technological, or other support for, or goods or
services in support of persons blocked under the Order. Section 1(a)(iv) of
E.O. 13382 provides for the designation of persons which are owned or
controlled by, or acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or
indirectly, of persons blocked under the Order.
Entity: Syria International Islamic
AKA: Syrian International Islamic Bank
Location: Syria International Islamic Bank Building, Main Highway Road
Al Mazzeh Area, P.O. Box 35494,
Alt. Location: PO Box 35494, Mezza'h Vellat Sharqia'h, beside the Consulate of
Saudi Arabia Damascus, Syria