Corruption and Support Hezbollah, the US Sanctioned Lebanese Official – The top political assistant to the speaker of the Lebanese parliament, Ali Hasan Khalil, and the country’s former Minister of Public Works Youssef Fenianos have been sanctioned by the United States. Both are suspected of having committed corruption and supporting the Hezbollah group.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Lebanon’s political leaders had neglected their responsibility to meet the needs of its people and instead built a political system that served their personal interests.

“While holding positions in the previous Lebanese cabinet, Fenianos and Khalil directed political and economic assistance to Hezbollah, including ensuring Hezbollah-owned companies won government contracts worth millions of dollars and moving money from government ministries to Hezbollah-related agencies,” he said as quoted by Al Arabiya, Wednesday (9/9/2020).

Pompeo said the US would continue to support the Lebanese people’s call for an end to corruption and political stagnation.

The US Assistant Secretary of State, David Schenker, said that there would be more sanctions for Lebanese officials.

A senior US official said former Finance Ministers Ali Hasan Khalil and Fenianos were charged with conspiring with Hezbollah at the expense of the Lebanese people and institutions.

According to the official, the two Lebanese officials are blatantly using their positions to fill their own pockets and betraying public trust.

Officials said the US would not hesitate to sanction other individuals who support and allow Hezbollah’s illicit activities.

“The two former ministers are truly examples of the old corrupt way of doing business among the Lebanese political elite,” said one official.

The official revealed that Khalil had tried to lobby for lighter US sanctions to get Hezbollah “moving money.” He was the Minister of Finance of Lebanon from 2014 to early 2020.

It also refuses to sign contracts and demands repayment, trying to destabilize the contractor and demand repayment.

Meanwhile Fenianos, a senior aide to the leader of the Marada Movement and former presidential candidate Sleiman Frangieh, became involved in public corruption by diverting funds from his ministry to support his political allies.

He was Lebanon’s minister of public works from 2016 to early 2020.