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U.S. sanctions Nairobi tycoons over links with Al Shabaab's $100M annual income

According to U.S. intelligence, Al-Shabaab generates over $100 million annually through extortion and financial support from affiliated businesses.

A person with Kenyan currency notes and U.S. dollars

The U.S. Treasury has announced the designation of a transnational money laundering network linked to the terrorist organization al-Shabaab.

The network spans across Kenya, the Horn of Africa, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Cyprus.

The sanctions were imposed on 16 entities and individuals allegedly involved in raising and laundering funds for al-Shabaab, a terrorist group affiliated with al-Qa’ida.

The individuals targeted include influential businesspeople in the region who are said to provide financial backing to al-Shabaab, responsible for some of the deadliest terrorist attacks in East Africa's history, resulting in the loss of thousands of innocent lives.


These sanctions are imposed under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which targets terrorist groups and their supporters.

Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson emphasised the commitment of the United States to work with regional partners to dismantle terror financing networks.

He stated that these actions are part of a comprehensive effort to support the Somali government's economic offensive against al-Shabaab, a crucial aspect in the campaign to weaken the terrorist group.

Al-Shabaab is known to generate over $100 million annually through extortion and financial support from affiliated businesses.


The threat posed by al-Shabaab extends beyond Somalia, as its revenues are used to fund other al-Qa’ida-supported groups worldwide, contributing to global instability and undermining governance.

This latest action builds upon previous efforts by the Treasury to disrupt al-Shabaab's financial operations.

In October 2022, a network of al-Shabaab financial facilitators was designated for their role in enabling the group's financial activities in Somalia.

Key entities in the designated network include Haleel Commodities L.L.C. (Haleel Group) based in Dubai, which serves as a major financial facilitator for al-Shabaab.


The network also involves subsidiaries and branches in Cyprus, Kenya, Uganda, and Somalia. Qemat Al Najah General Trading, based in the UAE, has been identified as another crucial node in the money laundering network.

Individuals like Faysal Yusuf Dini, based in Kenya, and Hassan Abdirahman Mahamed, a Finnish citizen, have been implicated in facilitating the transfer of funds for al-Shabaab's operations.

UAE-based Mohamed Artan Robel and Somalia-based Abdikarin Farah Mohamed are also among those designated for their involvement in supporting al-Shabaab's activities.

The sanctions have far-reaching implications, with all property and interests in property of the designated individuals and entities being blocked in the United States.


Additionally, engaging in transactions with these designated individuals may result in secondary sanctions under E.O. 13224, which could restrict financial activities with foreign financial institutions associated with terrorism.

The Treasury's action underscores the ongoing efforts to disrupt terrorist financing networks and deprive groups like al-Shabaab of the resources they need to carry out attacks and destabilize regions. By targeting the financial lifelines of terrorist organizations, the United States aims to contribute to global security and combat terrorism effectively.


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