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US sanctions 13 people, firms for role in money laundering, commends UAE coordination

WASHINGTON, Oct 11 (KUNA) — The US on Tuesday sanctioned four individuals and nine entities in association with the already-sanctioned Altaf Khanani Money Laundering Organisation and commended the UAE for its coordination on identifying the offenders.

The individuals sanctioned comprise Obaid Altaf Khanani, Hozaifa Javed Khanani, Muhammad Javed Khanani and Atif Polani, read a Treasury Department statement.

Meanwhile, the entities include the companies namely Mazaka General Trading, Jetlink Textiles Trading, Seven Sea Golden General Trading, Aydah Trading, Wadi Al Afrah Trading, Kay Zone General Trading, Kay Zone Builders and Developers, Landtek Developers and Unico Textiles.

All have worked with or provided support for Khanani or companies operating with or under the banner of criminal organization and its employees.

Khanani Organisation engages in third-party money laundering by transferring funds to financial institutions on behalf of drug traffickers and terrorist groups worldwide, said the US Treasury Department.

It was designated a Transnational Criminal Organization in late 2015, and is owned by Pakistani national Altaf Khanani, who was arrested also in 2015.

“Todays action is the result of close coordination with our partners in the United Arab Emirates,” said Acting Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control John E. Smith, commenting on the announcement.

The statement went on to specifically highlight the coordination with the Anti-Money Laundering Unit at Dubai Police General headquarters and the Central Bank of the UAE on the matter.

Furthermore, it said that the sanctioned individuals and bodies posed risks to the UAE itself, including its own banking and financial institutions, as well as the international financial system.

In early 2016, UAE authorities revoked the license of local money exchange firm Al-Zarooni Exchange, which operates under Khanani, due to anti-money laundering compliance violations.

As a result of the Treasury announcement, the assets of those sanctioned in the US or in the possession or control of US citizens are blocked, and US citizens are prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.

In a 2015 statement, the Treasury said that Khanani Organisation offers money laundering and facilitation services to global criminal gangs and US sanctioned groups like Hezbollah and Taliban between Pakistan, the UAE, the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and other countries

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