2004-03-26 / Community

Weiner Lauds Treasury Department On Saudi Funds

Weiner Lauds Treasury Department On Saudi Funds

Bowing to pressure from Represen tative Anthony Weiner (D-Queens & Brooklyn), the U.S. Treasury Depart ment has stopped releasing funds to the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), a front organization for Hamas.A0Before Weiner’s intervention, the Depart ment’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) had released approximately $1.5 million in frozen assets to the HLF, depleting funds being sought by victims of terrorism.

In 1996, Yaron and Efrat Ungar were shot to death by Hamas gun men a few miles from the West Bank. A0A0The family of Yaron Ungar, who held dual American/Israeli citizenship, brought suit against Hamas and it’s agents, including the HLF, in the United States, seeking $250 million in damages.

In January, the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island ruled in favor of the Ungar family, ordering Hamas to pay $116,409,123 in damages.A0

The Ungar family immediately moved to execute the judgment against frozen HLF assets under the control of U.S. authorities.

However, since 2001, OFAC has released approximately $1.5 million in frozen HLF assets to assist HLF law yers in covering litigation costs, thereby depleting the funds sought by the Ungar family.A0In 2001, OFAC controll ed $6,496,845 in HLF funds, a figure that has dropped below $5.1 million today.

In late February, Weiner called on the Director of OFAC, R. Richard Newcomb, to halt all payments to the HLF immediately.A0 OFAC has agreed to do so.

"The very last thing the United States government should be doing is helping terrorists plead their case," said Rep. Weiner.A0"Every dollar we release to the HLF is another dollar freed up for Hamas to pursue its deadly aims.A0It is about time this outrage stopped."

In 2001, the HLF was determined to be a "Specially Designated Terrorist" under Executive Order 12947 and a "Specially Designated Global Terror ist" under Executive Order 13224 be cause it was acting "for or on behalf of" Hamas.A0Accordingly, the Treasury Depart ment froze HLF’s assets.

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