US imposes sanctions on Lebanese politician Gebran Bassil over corruption

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Representative Image

Washington [US], November 7 (ANI/Sputnik): The United States has sanctioned Lebanese politician Gebran Bassil over alleged corruption, the Department of the Treasury said in a release on Friday.

"Today, the US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned Gibran Bassil (Bassil), the President of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) political party and Member of Parliament (MP), pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, for his role in corruption in Lebanon," the release said.

The Treasury Department explained that Executive Order 13818 builds on and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, which targets corruption and serious human rights abuse around the world.

The Treasury Department pointed out that Bassil has held several high-level posts in the Lebanese government - including the post of the Minister of Telecommunications, Minister of Energy and Water and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants - and his work has been marked by significant allegations of corruption.

"In 2017, Bassil strengthened his political base by appointing friends to positions and purchasing other forms of influence within Lebanese political circles," the release said. "In 2014, while Minister of Energy, Bassil was involved in approving several projects that would have steered Lebanese government funds to individuals close to him through a group of front companies."

The Treasury Department also said that Bassil was designated for being a current or former government official, or a person acting for or on behalf of such an official, who is responsible for or complicit in corruption, including the misappropriation of state assets, the expropriation of private assets for personal gain, corruption related to government contracts or the extraction of natural resources, or bribery. (ANI/Sputnik)