OFAC Designations Coincide with the Virtual Meetings of the Counter ISIS Finance Group
WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated two cybersecurity experts affiliated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) for providing ISIS leadership and supporters with cybersecurity training, enabling their use of virtual currency, and supporting the terrorist group’s recruitment. Additionally, OFAC designated an ISIS financial facilitator involved in transferring funds to ISIS-affiliated individuals in Syria.
These actions reinforce the United States’ commitment to the mission of the Counter ISIS Finance Group (CIFG), a working group of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS comprising over 80 countries and international organizations. These designations also coincide with the 19th meeting of the CIFG to discuss the disruption of ISIS financing networks worldwide.
“Today’s actions disrupt ISIS’s ability to move funds, including through the use of cryptocurrency, and leverage its online presence to recruit and promote its terrorist ideology,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. “Together with our international partners in the Counter ISIS Finance Group, the United States is committed to combatting ISIS’s evolving financial methods to deny ISIS access to the global financial system.”
These individuals are being designated pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended, which targets terrorist groups and their supporters.
Mu’min Al-Mawji Mahmud Salim
Mu’min Al-Mawji Mahmud Salim (Mu’min Al-Mawji) is an Egyptian national and the creator and leader of ISIS-affiliated platform Electronic Horizons Foundation (EHF), which provides cybersecurity guidance and training to ISIS supporters seeking to evade law enforcement scrutiny of their online activities. Mu’min Al-Mawji has provided technical support on computer applications to ISIS leadership and shared cryptocurrency expertise and instruction with ISIS supporters, including posting a tutorial on the EHF website that provided specific instructions on donating funds to ISIS-affiliated entities. Mu’min Al-Mawji also established an ISIS-affiliated media outlet to create and distribute ISIS propaganda calling for violence against the West.
Sarah Jamal Muhammad Al-Sayyid
Sarah Jamal Muhammad Al-Sayyid (Sarah Jamal) is an Egyptian national who helped her partner, Mu’min Al-Mawji, establish EHF. Sarah Jamal recruited other ISIS members to join EHF and procured web servers to host ISIS platforms on behalf of EHF. Sarah Jamal collaborated with Mu’min Al-Mawji on EHF projects including logistical management and cryptocurrency support.
In mid-2020, Türkiye-based Faruk Guzel received multiple transfers from a group of ISIS supporters for individuals associated with ISIS in Syria via a money remittance service. In turn, Guzel distributed the money to ISIS-affiliated persons.
Mu’min Al-Mawji Mahmud Salim, Sarah Jamal Muhammad Al-Sayyid, and Faruk Guzel are being designated for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, ISIS, an entity designated under E.O. 13224, as amended.
As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the persons named above, and of any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by them, individually, or with other blocked persons, that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC. 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 the United States, including transactions transiting the United States, that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons.
Furthermore, engaging in certain transactions with the individuals designated today entails risk of secondary sanctions pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended. Pursuant to this authority, OFAC can prohibit or impose strict conditions on the opening or maintaining in the United States of a correspondent account or a payable-through account of a foreign financial institution that knowingly conducted or facilitated any significant transaction on behalf of a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.
The power and integrity of OFAC sanctions derive not only from its ability to designate and add persons to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List), but also from its willingness to remove persons from the SDN List consistent with the law. The ultimate goal of sanctions is not to punish, but to bring about a positive change in behavior. For information concerning the process for seeking removal from an OFAC list, including the SDN List, please refer to OFAC’s Frequently Asked Question 897 here. For detailed information on the process to submit a request for removal from an OFAC sanctions list, please click here.