7 November 2020
The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned Gibran Bassil, the President of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) political party and Member of Parliament (MP), for his role in corruption in Lebanon. FPM is a Christian party allied to the powerful Shia movement Hezbollah.
This designation demonstrates that the United States supports the Lebanese people in their continued calls for reform and accountability. Bassil is the son-in-law of President Michel Aoun who founded the FPM.
Since October 2019, Lebanese citizens have called for political, social, and economic reform in Lebanon. Successive governments in Lebanon have failed to stem rising inflation, reduce the country’s mounting debt, improve failing infrastructure, or ensure that reliable electricity and other services reached Lebanese households. Socioeconomic conditions for ordinary Lebanese continue to deteriorate while political leaders are insulated from the crisis and are failing to implement needed reforms.
Bassil has held several high-level posts in the Lebanese government, including serving as the Minister of Telecommunications, the Minister of Energy and Water, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants.
In 2014, while Minister of Energy, Bassil was involved in approving several projects that steered government funds to individuals close to him through a group of front companies.
The US sanction blocks all assets in the US, owned by him or his proxy. The prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any blocked person or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person. All US people or entities are prohibited from engaging in transactions with Bassil — and anyone who does may be subject to US Sanctions. This could mean anything from banks to purchase of property or goods.
From the website of US Department of Treasury.