An Iraqi bank faces severance from the U.S. financial system for being a conduit of terrorist financing, according to the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).
FinCEN issued a finding and notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) Monday on Al-Huda Bank, alleging the bank and foreign sponsors “fuel violence that threatens the lives of U.S. and Iraqi citizens” while diverting funds that could support legitimate business, according to a press release.
The bank leveraged its access to U.S. dollars to support several foreign terrorist organizations, including Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard and its Quds Force, as well as Iran-aligned Iraqi militias, per FinCEN.
The government agency proposed severing the bank from the U.S. financial system by prohibiting U.S.-based financial institutions from opening or maintaining a correspondent account, for or on its behalf.
Comments on FinCEN’s NPRM can be made within 30 days of the notice being published in the Federal Register.
In a corresponding move, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced it levied sanctions against Hamad al-Moussawi, the owner and president of the board of directors of the bank.
“Since its inception, Al-Huda Bank has used forged documents to execute at least $6 billion in wire transfers out of Iraq,” OFAC said.
After establishing Al-Huda Bank, al-Moussawi began money laundering operations on behalf of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and Quds Force, per FinCEN. The bank also provided access to the U.S. financial system to “actors known to use fraudulent documentation, fake deposits, identity documents of the deceased, fake companies, and counterfeit Iraq dinar, providing opportunities to obscure the identities of the transaction counterparties to correspondent banking relationship providers,” FinCEN alleged.
Last week, OFAC designated the Iraqi airline Fly Baghdad and its Chief Executive Basheer Abdulkadhim Alwan al-Shabbani for delivering weapons and personnel throughout the region to Quds Force, along with its proxy groups in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.
Three U.S. troops were killed Sunday in northeast Jordan in a drone strike launched by Iranian proxy militias, the first U.S. fatalities since the start of the Israel-Gaza war.
Editor’s note: An original version of this story indicated Al-Huda Bank had been sanctioned, along with Hamad al-Moussawi. The story was corrected Feb. 1.