H.R.2297 - Hizballah International Financing Prevention Act of 2015
18 December 2015
Statement by the Press Secretary on the Hizballah International Financial Prevention Act of 2015
Today, the President signed into law H.R. 2297, the Hizballah International Financing Prevention Act of 2015. This strong, bipartisan bill intensifies pressure against the Hizballah terrorist organization and provides the Administration additional tools with which to target Hizballah’s financial lifeblood. We continue to work with Congress in a bipartisan way to ensure that we maximize the tools available to us to thwart Hizballah’s network at every turn, and we look forward to working together as we implement these new authorities. The U.S. Government has made significant progress and will continue to further disrupt Hizballah’s terrorist capabilities by targeting the group’s financial support infrastructure. We are committed to continuing to take strong action, such as imposing sanctions, to counter the activities of Hizballah operatives and supporters, wherever they are located.
Summary of the U.S. Congress law: H.R. 2297 - Hizballah International Financing Prevention Act of 2015
(Sec. 2) This bill states that it shall be U.S. policy to: (1) prevent Hizballah's global logistics and financial network from operating in order to curtail funding of its domestic and international activities; and (2) utilize diplomatic, legislative, and executive avenues to combat Hizballah's criminal activities in order to block that organization's ability to fund its global terrorist activities.
TITLE I--PREVENTION OF ACCESS BY HIZBALLAH TO INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL AND OTHER INSTITUTIONS
(Sec. 101) The President shall report to Congress on: (1) satellite, broadcast, Internet, or other providers that have knowingly entered into a contractual relationship with al-Manar TV and its affiliates; and (2) the identity of those providers that have or have not been sanctioned pursuant to Executive Order 13224 (relating to blocking property and prohibiting transactions with persons who commit or support terrorism).
(Sec. 102) The President shall prohibit or impose strict conditions on the opening or maintaining in the United States of a correspondent account or a payable-through account by a foreign financial institution that knowingly:
- facilitates a transaction or transactions for Hizballah;
- facilitates a significant transaction or transactions of a person on specified lists of specially designated nationals and blocked persons, property, and property interests for acting on behalf of or at the direction of, or being owned or controlled by, Hizballah;
- engages in money laundering to carry out such an activity; or
- facilitates a significant transaction or provides significant financial services to carry out such an activity.
Specified penalties under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act shall apply to violations of this Act.
Procedures for judicial review of classified information are set forth.
The President may waive the application of a prohibition for up to 180 days (renewable for additional 180-day periods) if in U.S. national security interests, and with congressional notification.
The President shall not be required to apply sanctions to a foreign financial institution if the President certifies to Congress that:
- such institution is no longer, or is taking significant steps towards no longer, engaging in the prohibited activity; and
- the President has received reliable assurances from the government with primary jurisdiction over the institution that the institution will not engage in such activity.
Treasury shall identify to Congress every 180 days each foreign central bank that carries out a prohibited activity, together with a detailed description of each such activity.
TITLE II--REPORTS AND BRIEFINGS ON NARCOTICS TRAFFICKING AND SIGNIFICANT TRANSNATIONAL CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES OF HIZBALLAH
(Sec. 201) The President shall report to Congress on Hizballah's narcotics trafficking worldwide.
The President shall, within 30 days of submitting such report, brief Congress on: (1) the report, (2) procedures for designating Hizballah as a significant foreign narcotics trafficker, and (3) government-wide efforts to combat Hizballah's narcotics trafficking.
(Sec. 202) The President shall report to Congress on Hizballah's transnational criminal activities, including human trafficking.
The President shall, within 30 days of submitting such report, brief Congress on: (1) the report, (2) procedures for designating Hizballah as a significant transnational criminal organization, and (3) government-wide efforts to combat Hizballah's criminal activities.
(Sec. 203) The Department of State shall report, and provide an annual briefing, to Congress regarding actions taken through the Department's rewards program to obtain information on Hizballah's fundraising, financing, and money laundering activities.
(Sec. 204) The President shall report to Congress regarding:
- countries that support Hizballah, countries in which Hizballah maintains important portions of its global logistics networks, or in which Hizballah conducts significant fundraising, financing, or money laundering activities;
- an assessment of whether a country's government is taking adequate measures to disrupt Hizballah's networks and activities within that country, and if not, the reasons it is not taking such measures and a description of U.S. measures to encourage the improvement of such measures; and
- methods that Hizballah, or any of its agents or affiliates, utilizes to raise or transfer funds, including trade-based money laundering, the use of foreign exchange houses, and free-trade zones.
The State Department, Treasury, and other applicable federal departments and agencies shall brief Congress every 180 days on the disposition of Hizballah's assets and activities related to fundraising, financing, and money laundering.
TITLE III--MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS
(Sec. 301) Nothing in this Act shall apply to authorized U.S. intelligence activities.
(Sec. 302) The President shall promulgate implementing regulations.
(Sec. 303) This Act shall cease to be in effect 30 days after the President certifies to Congress that Hizballah:
- is no longer designated as a foreign terrorist organization; and
- is no longer listed in the Annex to Executive Order 13224.
SOURCE: US CONGRESS https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/2297