US sanctions Houthi military officer for seizing opposition property
OFAC blocks designated persons' assets and prohibits US persons from dealing with them
The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OPAC), the United States Department of the Treasury, has designated senior Houthi military leader Saleh Mesfer Alshaer. He has been added to the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list.
OFAC blocks designated persons' assets and prohibits US persons from dealing with them.
In the press release, OFAC Director Andrea Gacki named Alshaer as the principal military officer responsible for seizing the assets of Yemenis. The Houthi movement controls the Yemeni government and the majority of the country's cities.
OFAC claims that Alshaer has overseen the seizure of more than $100 million worth of property. This property is held by the Houthi-controlled government, whose courts hold the assets as "judicial custodians" of assets confiscated from opponents of the Houthis.
Many of these assets have been seized using extortion, and the proceeds have been used to fund the Houthi war effort in the Yemeni Civil War. The government has seized assets from 35 Yemeni parliamentarians not aligned with the Houthi movement.
The US blocks assets in Yemen under an Executive Order (EO) that was signed by former President Barack Obama in 2012. The EO empowers OFAC to block the property of persons threatening the peace, security, or stability of Yemen.
The decision of the US to designate Alshaer follows the United Nations' sanction of Alshaer recently. Sanction by the US is an especially important part of UN sanctions enforcement, as it prohibits US financial institutions from doing business with designated individuals. The importance of the US financial system globally contributes to the powerful effect of SDN designation.