Statement from Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen on the U.S Senate’s Vote on the American Rescue Plan

The Senate took a critical step today.

With the economy down 9.5 million jobs since February 2020, it could be two years before the labor market simply reaches its pre-pandemic level. These high rates of job loss threaten the wellbeing of workers and their families. They may create economic scars that last well beyond the end of the pandemic.  This is why our country is in need of an ambitious relief bill to help Americans endure the final months of this crisis; to put food on the table, checks in the mail, and vaccine shots in the arm.

With the Senate’s vote on the American Rescue Plan, the bill is one step closer to passage. Once the plan is signed into law, I am confident that Americans will be met by a strong economy when we make it to the other side of the pandemic.

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Treasury to Invest $9 billion in Community Development Financial Institutions and Minority Depository Institutions through Emergency Capital Investment Program (ECIP)

ECIP Provides Capital and Services to Low- and Moderate-Income, Historically Disadvantaged Communities Impacted by COVID-19

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced that it was opening the application process for the Emergency Capital Investment Program (ECIP), a new initiative designed to support access to capital in communities traditionally excluded from the financial system and that have struggled the most during the COVID-19 crisis. The program will ultimately invest $9 billion in Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and minority depository institutions (MDIs), supporting their efforts to provide financial products for small and minority-owned businesses and consumers in low-income and underserved communities. Treasury’s $9 billion investment under ECIP will complement the $3 billion of grants being provided by the CDFI Fund through the CDFI Rapid Response Program and the Emergency Support and Minority Lending Program.

ECIP will provide up to $9 billion in capital directly to depository CDFIs and MDIs to support the provision of loans, grants, and forbearance for small and minority businesses and consumers in low income communities. The program sets aside $2 billion for participants with less than $500 million in assets and an additional $2 billion for participants with less than $2 billion in assets. The funding will provide long-term, low-cost equity and subordinated debt for participating institutions to support low-and-middle income (LMI) communities.

“America has always had financial services deserts, places where it’s very difficult for people to get their hands on capital so they can, for example, start a business. But the pandemic has made these deserts even more inhospitable,” said Secretary Janet L. Yellen. “The Emergency Capital Investment Program will help these places that the financial sector hasn’t typically served well. It will allow people to access capital, especially in communities of color and rural areas.”

These programs are designed to provide relief at a moment when many households and small businesses are struggling as a result of the pandemic – and when that pain is not evenly distributed across the country. The American Rescue Plan that President Biden and Vice President Harris have put forward is designed to address that challenge, with measures focused on getting relief to underserved communities, including new emergency grants to help struggling small businesses, investments in state programs that support small business credit, and additional rental assistance to support families trying to stay in their homes. As the Biden-Harris administration works with Congress to pass that plan, Treasury is taking steps with its existing authorities to provide support to those who need it.

Program Highlights

  • Incentivizing impactful lending: Treasury’s investments in participating institutions will be at a capped low-cost dividend or interest rate, with no dividends or interest payable or accruing during the first 24 months after issuance. This structure provides an incentive for impactful lending. Treasury is developing additional “deep impact” metrics to further incentivize targeted investments by participants in those communities most in need of capital.
  • Ensuring capital treatment that maximizes program effectiveness: Treasury has collaborated closely with federal banking regulators to ensure the preferred stock investments under ECIP qualify for beneficial capital treatment. This will allow institutions to leverage their capital to maximize lending reach and impact.
  • Planning for the long term: Treasury intends for this program to immediately provide support to CDFIs and MDIs, improving the fiscal health of participating institutions and enhancing real-time impact. Over the long term, Treasury expects the program will strengthen the viability of the CDFIs and MDIs, sustaining their role as important vehicles for fostering access and inclusion in low-income and traditionally underserved communities.

 

Complementary Programs

Today’s announcement is part of $12 billion of emergency support being provided by Treasury to CDFIs and MDIs to help their communities respond to the economic hardships created by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the Emergency Capital Investment Program, Treasury is also implementing two other complementary programs:

  • CDFI Rapid Response Program is a $1.25 billion program for depository and non-depository CDFIs intended to support, prepare for, and respond to the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis. Funding will be distributed rapidly and broadly by formula allocation and will provide grants for a variety of needs in response to the pandemic. The funding round was opened on February 25, 2021.
  • Emergency Support and Minority Lending Program is a $1.75 billion program to expand lending, grant making, or investment activity in LMI minorities communities and to minorities that have significant unmet capital or financial services needs. Funding from this program will provide a combination of grant capital and technical assistance that target communities impacted by the pandemic. Eligible participants include depository and non-depository CDFIs, including a $1.2 billion set-aside for a new category of CDFIs, “minority lending institutions.” Treasury expects to open this program by early summer 2021.

 

Taken together, these three programs, created under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, enable Treasury to take aggressive action to address the impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and to promote an equitable economic recovery. These historic investments are intended to provide catalytic growth for institutions and communities that have traditionally been underserved by the financial sector.

For more information about the Emergency Capital Investment Program, please visit https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/cares/emergency-capital-investment-program.

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Acting Comptroller Marks Anniversary of Freedman’s Bank and the National Currency Act

News Release 2021-28 | March 3, 2021

WASHINGTON—Today, Acting Comptroller of the Currency Blake Paulson issued the following statement to staff to recognize the 158th anniversary of the National Currency Act, which created the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the 156th anniversary of the Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company.

Over the last week we’ve seen two important anniversaries that share a tremendous heritage in promoting financial inclusion and providing fair access to financial services.

February 25 marked the 158th anniversary of the National Currency Act, which allowed for the creation of the national banking system and the establishment of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Engrained in our tenets, as we ensure financial institutions operate in a safe and sound manner, is to make sure national banks and federal savings associations also provide fair access to financial services and to treat customers fairly.

Two years and a few days after the adoption of the National Currency Act, Congress and President Abraham Lincoln established Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company—commonly referred to as Freedman’s Bank—to help newly freed slaves create and navigate their financial lives. On March 3, we recognize the 156th anniversary of the bank.

While the OCC did not supervise the bank, the agency was critical to its legacy. After its closure in June 1874, Comptrollers fought for decades to return losses to the more than 61,000 depositors who lost nearly $3 million.

Today, both the legacy of Freedman’s Bank and the National Currency Act can be found across the financial industry.

The OCC’s work in ensuring financial inclusion can be found through initiatives like Project REACh and our Minority Depository Institution Advisory Committee to advise the agency on issues and opportunities facing minority depository institutions.

Minority-owned banks play critical roles in their communities but have faced challenges with accessing capital, growing technology, and modernizing infrastructure. Project REACh recognizes opportunities for more meaningful partnerships that deliver more than temporary financial assistance that help minority-owned banks remain a vibrant part of the economic landscape. Last year, the OCC released the Project REACh Pledge for larger banks to commit to support the health and vitality of these institutions.

Within our own walls, we strive to support inclusion and diversity in a variety of ways including our eight Employee Network Groups, paid internships for minority college students, and through the High School Scholars Internship Program.

As we recognize these anniversaries, I want to thank all of you for the work you do in accomplishing our mission and in ensuring that all Americans find fairness and inclusion in the federal banking system.

Media Contact

Bryan Hubbard
(202) 649-6870

Treasury Sanctions Fugitive Associate of CJNG

OFAC Action Targets High-Level Cartel Facilitator

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Mexican national Juan Manuel Abouzaid El Bayeh (“Abouzaid El Bayeh”) as a Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficker pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act). OFAC designated Abouzaid El Bayeh for his high-level role in facilitating drug shipments and money laundering for the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG), a violent Mexican drug trafficking organization that is responsible for trafficking a significant proportion of the fentanyl and other deadly drugs that enter the United States. Today’s action is the result of OFAC’s ongoing collaboration with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Los Angeles Field Division.

“Treasury’s action against Abouzaid El Bayeh is a demonstration of the United States’ continuing commitment to dismantling CJNG through the targeting of critical cogs in the organization’s leadership structure,” said Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control Andrea M. Gacki.

Abouzaid El Bayeh was designated today for materially assisting in, providing financial or technological support for or to, or providing goods or services in support of the international narcotics trafficking activities of CJNG. In June 2020, Mexican authorities blocked Abouzaid El Bayeh’s Mexican bank accounts due to his relationship with CJNG. Previously, in October 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice identified Abouzaid El Bayeh as being linked to CJNG and unsealed a federal drug trafficking indictment filed against him in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that was investigated by the DEA Los Angeles Field Division. Specifically, Abouzaid El Bayeh was charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and methamphetamine, knowing and intending that it will be imported into the United States. The indictment alleges the activity began in or around 2012. Abouzaid El Bayeh, who remains a fugitive from these charges, maintains a close relationship with senior leaders of CJNG.

PREVIOUS U.S. GOVERNMENT ACTIONS ON CJNG AND LOS CUINIS

Today’s Kingpin Act designation marks OFAC’s twelfth action against CJNG, which was designated on April 8, 2015, along with its leader, Ruben Oseguera Cervantes (a.k.a. “Mencho”), for playing a significant role in international narcotics trafficking. In previous actions, OFAC designated a wide range of businesses and individuals linked to CJNG and its close ally, the previously designated Los Cuinis Drug Trafficking Organization. The previously designated businesses in Mexico include shopping centers, real estate companies, agricultural companies, a music promotion business, and a luxury boutique hotel. Many of these Mexican entities have engaged in the laundering of drug proceeds and represent attempts by CJNG and Los Cuinis to integrate themselves into the legitimate economy. Among the previously designated individuals are those who play critical roles in CJNG’s drug trafficking activities, including money laundering, and those who facilitate corruption activities on behalf of CJNG and Los Cuinis.

The U.S. Department of State’s Narcotics Rewards Program has issued a reward of up to $10 million for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of Oseguera Cervantes. Tips can be submitted to DEA by phone (+1-213-237-9990), through Twitter (@DEALosAngeles), and by email ([email protected]).

As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the designated individual that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC. OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or persons within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons.

Since June 2000, more than 2,200 entities and individuals have been sanctioned pursuant to the Kingpin Act for their role in international narcotics trafficking. Penalties for violations of the Kingpin Act range from civil penalties of up to $1,503,470 per violation to more severe criminal penalties. Criminal penalties for corporate officers may include up to 30 years in prison and fines of up to $5 million. Criminal fines for corporations may reach $10 million. Other individuals could face up to 10 years in prison and fines pursuant to Title 18 of the United States Code for criminal violations of the Kingpin Act.

View more information on the individual designated today.

View the Kingpin Act chart on the individual designated today.

OCC Releases CRA Evaluations for 13 National Banks and Federal Savings Associations

News Release 2021-27 | March 2, 2021

WASHINGTON — The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) today released a list of Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) performance evaluations that became public during the period of February 1, 2021 through February 28, 2021.  The list contains only national banks, federal savings associations, and insured federal branches of foreign banks that have received ratings.  The possible ratings are outstanding, satisfactory, needs to improve, and substantial noncompliance.

Of the 13 evaluations made public this month, 9 are rated satisfactory, three are rated outstanding, and one is rated needs to improve.

A list of this month’s evaluations is available here. Click on the institution’s charter number to view a pdf of the evaluation. The OCC’s website (https://www.occ.gov) also offers access to a searchable list of all public CRA evaluations. Copies of the evaluations may also be obtained by submitting a request electronically through the OCC’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) website https://foia-pal.occ.gov/palMain.aspx or by writing to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Communications Division, Suite 3E-218, Washington, DC 20219. When requests are made electronically, remember to include your postal mail address.

Media Contact

Public Affairs
(202) 649-6870

Treasury Sanctions Russian Officials in Response to the Novichok Poisoning of Aleksey Navalny

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) joined the U.S. Departments of State and Commerce in imposing sanctions in response to Russia’s poisoning and subsequent imprisonment of Russian opposition figure Aleksey Navalny.  Specifically, OFAC designated seven Russian government officials:  Federal Security Service (FSB) Director Aleksandr Bortnikov (Bortnikov), Chief of the Presidential Policy Directorate Andrei Yarin (Yarin), First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Sergei Kiriyenko (Kiriyenko), Deputy Minister of Defense Aleksey Krivoruchko (Krivoruchko), Deputy Minister of Defense Pavel Popov (Popov), Federal Penitentiary Service (FSIN) director Alexander Kalashnikov (Kalashnikov), and Prosecutor General Igor Krasnov (Krasnov) pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13661 for serving as officials of the Russian government.  OFAC also designated Bortnikov pursuant to E.O. 13382 for acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the Federal Security Service (FSB).  

“The Kremlin’s use of chemical weapons to silence a political opponent and intimidate others demonstrates its flagrant disregard for international norms,” stated Secretary Janet L. Yellen. “We join the EU in condemning Alexei Navalny’s poisoning as well as his arrest and imprisonment by the Russian government.”

FSB Officers Poisoned Navalny with a Novichok Nerve Agent

On August 24, 2020, German doctors announced that Navalny had been poisoned with a substance that analysis by German, French, Swedish, and Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)-designated laboratories later identified as a Novichok nerve agent.  Novichok nerve agents were created by the former Soviet Union, and Russia is the only known country to have used these chemical weapons.  Russia previously used a Novichok nerve agent in the March 2018 attempted assassination of former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, United Kingdom.  In response, OFAC sanctioned several Russian persons associated with the Skripal attack, under multiple authorities, and also implemented prohibitions pursuant to the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991.

The United States believes that the FSB used a nerve agent to poison Navalny, who fell gravely ill on August 20, 2020 while traveling after campaigning against pro-Kremlin candidates in regional elections held in September 2020.  Navalny has for many years been the target of FSB surveillance, including wiretapping and covert video surveillance.

The European Union (EU) and United Kingdom (UK) have similarly stated that Navalny has been the target of systematic harassment and repression by state and judicial actors due to his prominent role in the political opposition, and was under surveillance at the time of his poisoning.  Given that the toxic agent with which Navalny was poisoned is only accessible to Russian state authorities, the EU and UK concluded that the poisoning was only possible with the involvement of the FSB.

Treasury Actions

Today’s Treasury action complements today’s EU actions as well as those taken in October 2020 by the EU and the United Kingdom, which imposed sanctions on senior Russian government officials and a Russian state research institute for their involvement in the poisoning of Navalny. 

Andrei Yarin is the chief of the Kremlin’s domestic policy directorate.  In this function, he is in charge of designing and implementing internal political orientations.  Yarin was appointed to a task force inside the Presidential Executive Office whose role was to counter Navalny’s influence in Russian society, including through operations meant to discredit him.

Sergei Kiriyenko is the First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office.  Kiriyenko is reported to be President Putin’s “domestic policy curator.”

Aleksei Krivoruchko is a Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation.  Krivoruchko was previously the chief executive officer of U.S.-designated Kalashnikov Concern.  In his role as Deputy Defense Minister, Krivoruchko has overall responsibility for armaments, including oversight of the Ministry’s stocks of weapons and military equipment.

Pavel Popov is a Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation.  In his capacity as Defense Minister, Popov is responsible for research activities that include oversight and development of the Defense Ministry’s scientific and technical capabilities.

Alexander Bortnikov is the Director of the FSB.  As Russia’s internal intelligence service, the FSB is involved in the political prosecutions of opponents of President Vladimir Putin’s regime, and operates as a key political enforcer.  OFAC has previously sanctioned the FSB pursuant to E.O. 13694, as amended by E.O. 13757, as well as Section 224 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), for malicious cyber activities.

Alexander Kalashnikov is the director of the FSIN.  The FSIN accused Navalny of violating the terms of his parole while he was recovering in Germany following his poisoning, sought his arrest, and requested that Navalny’s suspended sentence be converted into an actual prison term.

Igor Krasnov is Russia’s Prosecutor General.  The Prosecutor General’s office has prosecuted Navalny and has pushed for his incarceration.

All seven of these officials were designated pursuant to E.O. 13661 for serving as officials of the Russian government.  In addition, Bortnikov was designated pursuant to E.O. 13382 for acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the FSB.  

President Putin’s envoy to the Siberian Federal District, Sergei Menyailo, was also designated by the EU and the UK in October 2020 for his involvement in the Navlany poisoning.  Menyailo was previously designated by OFAC on June 20, 2014 pursuant to E.O. 13361 for being responsible for or complicit in actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, sovereignty and, or territorial integrity of Ukraine. 

State Actions

Today, the Department of State designated the FSB, GosNIIOKhT, the 33rd TsNIII, the 27th Scientific Center, the GRU, and GRU officers Alexander Yevgeniyevich Mishkin and Anatoliy Vladimirovich Chepiga pursuant to Section 1(a)(ii) of E.O. 13382 for having engaged, or attempted to engage, in activities or transactions that have materially contributed to, or pose a risk of materially contributing to, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or their means of delivery (including missiles capable of delivering such weapons), including any efforts to manufacture, acquire, possess, develop, transport, transfer or use such items, by Russia.  GosNIIOKhT was previously sanctioned by the EU and the UK in October 2020.  The Department of State also added six entities to the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act Section 231 List of Specified Persons, as persons that are part of, or operate for or on behalf of, the defense or intelligence sectors of the Government of the Russian Federation.  Finally, the Department of State implemented financial prohibitions pursuant to the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991.

View the Department of State’s fact sheet and statement on today’s actions.

Sanctions Implications

As a result of Treasury’s actions, all property and interests in property of these persons that come within the possession of U.S. persons are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally

prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.  Additionally, any entities 50 percent or

more owned by one or more designated persons are also blocked.  Moreover, any foreign person who knowingly facilitates a significant transaction or transactions for or on behalf of one of these persons risks being sanctioned.

View identifying information on the individuals designated today.

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Treasury Announces Key Staff Appointments 

 

WASHINGTON – Today, the United States Department of the Treasury announced several key additions to Treasury staff. These distinguished and diverse individuals join Treasury prepared to deliver results for the American people by addressing the public health crisis and resulting economic crisis, as well as inequality, racism, and climate change.  

Biographies of the appointees are listed below in alphabetical order:  

Bill Doerrer, White House Liaison 

Bill Doerrer joins the Treasury Department after serving on the Legal Policy and Personnel teams of the Biden-Harris Transition.  Prior to the transition, Doerrer was a member of the Biden-Harris General Election campaign serving as Director of Post-Election Operations.  During the primary, Doerrer served as Biden for President’s Director of Delegate Operations and Convention Planning, and as Operations Director for the Iowa Caucuses.  Doerrer has also served in senior political roles for several elected officials in Illinois, including former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.  He is a graduate of Marquette University and Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law, and currently resides in Chicago. 

William A. Fields, Senior Advisor to the Secretary

William A. Fields is returning to the Treasury Department as a Senior Advisor to the Secretary. He was most recently a senior associate at Sidewalk Labs focusing on economic development and strategic acquisitions.  Prior to joining Sidewalk, Fields was a Special Assistant within the Treasury Department, where he was a key policy advisor to the Office of the Undersecretary for Domestic Finance. Fields provided critical expertise and support on issues including the future structure of the housing finance system, and the fiscal solvency of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. He started within the Department at the Financial Stability Oversight Council where he focused on systemic risk and non-bank systemically important financial institutions. Fields began his career as a staffer on the United States Senate Banking Committee under Chairman Christopher Dodd, assisting the committee during the drafting, passage, and implementation of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act. He served on the Biden-Harris transition team, as a member of the Agency Review Team for the Treasury Department. Fields holds a Bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College and an M.B.A. from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He is a proud native of East Cleveland, Ohio. 

Neil Mehrotra, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Macroeconomics, Office of Economic Policy

Neil Mehrotra was most recently Senior Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in the Research and Statistics Group. He joined the Macroeconomic and Monetary Studies Function at the NY Fed in July of 2019. His research focuses on declining interest rates and secular stagnation, including implications for monetary and fiscal policy. He also studies the importance of financial frictions for the behavior of firms over the business cycle. Mehrotra’s research has been published in journals such as the American Economic Review, the Journal of Monetary Economics, and AEJ: Macroeconomics. Prior to joining the New York Fed, Mehrotra was an Assistant Professor in the Economics Department at Brown University from 2013 to 2019. His research has been supported by grants from the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Institute for New Economic Thinking, the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. From 2016 to 2017, Mehrotra was a visiting junior scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Princeton University in 2005 and a Ph.D. in Economics from Columbia University in 2013. 

Jose E. Murillo, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Tax Affairs, Office of Tax Policy

Jose Murillo is returning to the Treasury Department after spending eleven years as a partner at Ernst & Young LLP.  Most recently, Murillo was the Director of the International Tax and Transaction Services practice in EY’s National Tax Department in Washington, D.C.  In that role, Murillo helped execute EY’s international tax strategy and advised many of EY’s largest clients on a variety of US international tax matters. Previously, Murillo served at the Treasury Department in the Office of the International Tax Counsel in the Bush-Cheney and Obama-Biden Administrations. Prior to that, Murillo spent 10 years in EY’s international tax groups in Houston and Washington, D.C. Born in Mexico and raised in Texas, Murillo holds a BBA in Accounting and MPA in Taxation from The University of Texas at Austin.  Jose lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, Yoli Lopez. 

Hira Qureshi, Deputy White House Liaison

Hira Qureshi most recently served as the Operations and Special Projects Director at the Biden-Harris General Election campaign and as the National Operations Coordinator during the primary. Prior to joining the Biden-Harris campaign, she worked for a federal consulting firm in Washington, D.C., supporting the Department of Defense and Government Accountability Office in data governance and project management. Qureshi has previously served as a White House Intern during the Obama-Biden Administration, where she supported the National Economic Council in trade policy. Originally from Georgia, she is a graduate of Tufts University. 

Catherine Wolfram, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Climate and Energy Economics, Office of Economic Policy 

Catherine Wolfram most recently served as Associate Dean and Cora Jane Flood Professor of Economics at the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley. She also served as the Program Director of the Environmental and Energy Economics group at the National Bureau of Economic Research, the nation’s premier economic research organization. She is a world-renowned expert on climate and energy economics and has done research on a range of topics, from the electricity sectors in Kenya, Ghana and India, to energy efficiency investments in the United States. Originally from Minnesota, Wolfram holds a Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an undergraduate degree from Harvard University. 

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Treasury Sanctions Key Military Leaders of the Ansarallah Militia in Yemen

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned two key militants of the Iranian-backed Ansarallah, sometimes referred to as the Houthis, whose actions have prolonged Yemen’s civil war and exacerbated the country’s humanitarian crisis.  Mansur Al-Sa’adi and Ahmad ‘Ali Ahsan al-Hamzi are responsible for orchestrating attacks by Houthi forces impacting Yemeni civilians, bordering nations, and commercial vessels in international waters.  These actions, which were done to advance the Iranian regime’s destabilizing agenda, have fueled the Yemeni conflict, displacing more than one million people and pushing Yemen to the brink of famine.

“The United States condemns the destruction of civilian sites by the Houthi militants designated today.  These individuals command forces that are worsening the humanitarian crisis in Yemen,” said Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control Andrea M. Gacki.  “The United States remains committed to promoting accountability of Houthi leadership for their actions, which have contributed to the extraordinary suffering of the Yemeni people.”

Today’s action is being taken pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13611, an authority aimed at blocking property of persons threatening the peace, security, or stability of Yemen.

Since the onset of the conflict in Yemen, the Houthis, with the support of the Iranian regime, have waged a bloody war against the internationally recognized Yemeni government using ballistic missiles, explosives, naval mines, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to attack bases, population centers, infrastructure, and nearby commercial shipping. 

The Iranian regime has intensified this conflict by providing direct financial and materiel assistance to the Houthis, including small arms, missiles, explosives, and UAVs. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)–Qods Force has provided military guidance and training to the Houthis.  This support has allowed the Houthis to threaten Yemen’s neighbors and to conduct heinous attacks damaging civilian infrastructure in Yemen and Saudi Arabia.  Iranian support of the Houthis has only prolonged Yemen’s civil war and contributed to the widespread suffering of millions of Yemenis in a humanitarian crisis the United Nations called “the worst in the world.”

Mansur Al-Sa’adi and Ahmad al-Hamzi

Mansur Al-Sa’adi, who serves as the Houthi Naval Forces Chief of Staff, has masterminded lethal attacks against international shipping in the Red Sea.  The Houthi Naval Forces have repeatedly dispersed naval mines, which strike vessels irrespective of their civilian or military character.  According to international human rights organizations, the use of naval mines in the Yemen civil war poses a risk to commercial, fishing, and humanitarian aid vessels. 

Mansur Al-Sa’adi, who has received extensive training in Iran, has also helped smuggle Iranian weapons into Yemen.

Ahmad ‘Ali Ahsan al-Hamzi, the commander of Yemen’s Houthi-aligned Yemeni Air Force and Air Defense Forces, as well as its UAV program, has acquired Iranian-made weapons for use in the Yemen civil war.  Houthi military forces under Major General Ahmad ‘Ali al-Hamzi’s command have carried out targeted UAV strikes.  Like Al-Sa’adi, al-Hamzi has received training in Iran.

Bases for Designation

Mansur Al-Sa’adi is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13611 for having engaged in acts that directly or indirectly threaten the peace, security, or stability of Yemen, such as acts that obstruct the implementation of the agreement of November 23, 2011, between the Government of Yemen and those in opposition to it, which provides for a peaceful transition of power in Yemen, or that obstruct the political process in Yemen.

Ahmad ‘Ali Ahsan al-Hamzi is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13611 for being a political or military leader of an entity that has engaged in acts that directly or indirectly threaten the peace, security, or stability of Yemen, such as acts that obstruct the implementation of the agreement of November 23, 2011, between the Government of Yemen and those in opposition to it, which provides for a peaceful transition of power in Yemen, or that obstruct the political process in Yemen.

Sanctions Implications 

As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the persons above that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC.  In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked. Unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, or otherwise exempt, OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons.  The prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any blocked person or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.

View identifying information on the individuals designated today.

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READOUT: Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen’s Call with European Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni

WASHINGTON – Earlier today, Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen spoke with European Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni. Secretary Yellen emphasized the importance of the transatlantic partnership and conveyed her intention to deepen U.S.-European cooperation on key policy challenges, including ending the pandemic, supporting a strong global economic recovery, fighting income inequality, and forcefully addressing the threat of climate change. The Secretary committed to re-engage actively in the ongoing OECD discussions on international taxation to forge a strong international accord.

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READOUT: Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen’s Call with Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg

WASHINGTON – Earlier today, Secretary of the Treasury Janet L. Yellen spoke with Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.  During the call, Secretary Yellen affirmed the importance of the economic cooperation under the U.S.-Australia alliance. Secretary Yellen conveyed her priorities for supporting strong recovery efforts and mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, combatting inequality and creating jobs, and fighting climate change. Secretary Yellen noted her interest in working closely with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg to advance mutual priorities, including in the Indo-Pacific region. 

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