Jan 18, 2020 11:11 UTC
  • UK freezes Hezbollah assets following designation of entire group as 'terrorist'

Britain's Treasury has expanded the scope of its asset-freezing measures against Hezbollah to cover the Lebanese resistance movement in its entirety.

In a notice published on its website Friday, the Treasury's Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation said the move requires that any individual or institution in the UK with accounts or financial services connected to Hezbollah suspend them or face prosecution.

“Failure to comply with financial sanctions legislation is a criminal offence or to seek to circumvent its provisions is a criminal offence,” it said.

The UK had already banned Hezbollah's external security unit and its military wing in 2001 and 2008, respectively.

The Treasury's new measure followed Britain’s decision last year to blacklist the group.

In February 2019, then Home Secretary Sajid Javid accused Hezbollah of destabilizing the West Asia region, saying London was "no longer able to distinguish" between the group's banned military branch and its political party.

"Hezbollah itself has publicly denied a distinction between its military and political wings," the Treasury said Friday.

“The group in its entirety is assessed to be concerned in terrorism and was proscribed as a terrorist organization in the UK in March 2019. This listing includes the Military Wing, the Jihad Council and all units reporting to it, including the External Security Organization," it added.

Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan welcomed the UK Treasury's measure, calling on the EU and other countries to follow London’s example.

Similarly, Brian Hook, the US special representative for Iran, said Washington was “very pleased” with the decision.