Analysis & Commentary - Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance

Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance Media Articles

12th January 2018 – FDD’s Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance Research Memo

Bitcoin Laundering: An Analysis of Illicit Flows into Digital Currency Services

Yaya J. Fanusie

Bitcoin gambling sites, “mixers” and European Bitcoin exchange may be the destinations of choice for criminals looking to launder bitcoins, according to a study issued today by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ (FDD) Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance (CSIF) and cryptocurrency analytics firm Elliptic. more...

1st December 2017 – FDD Policy Brief

U.S. Calls for Oil Ban and Complete Diplomatic Isolation of North Korea

Anthony Ruggiero, Mathew Ha

The United Nations Security Council held an emergency meeting Wednesday following North Korea’s third intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the thirteenth meeting of the Security Council this year. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley called for the body to isolate Pyongyang and increase pressure on it, by banning the sale of oil to North Korea and severing all diplomatic ties. more...

29th November 2017 – Fox News

It’s time to ramp up the pressure on North Korea and China after latest missile test

Anthony Ruggiero

North Korea’s third successful launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile Wednesday should prompt President Trump to quicken the pace of his policy of putting “maximum pressure” on the North to give up its nuclear weapons. more...

26th November 2017 – The Hill

Hezbollah drug trafficking should spur Trump to appoint DEA head

Emanuele Ottolenghi

The new DEA administrator should have a clear vision for addressing the international dimension of the drug crisis, as well as the wreckage at home. In particular, the president should choose a DEA chief who not only understands the complex and global nature of drug cartels but is also cognizant of the growing convergence between transnational organized crime and terrorist groups like Hezbollah. more...

22nd November 2017 – FDD's Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance Policy Brief

Congress Supports Financial Transparency for Iranian Transactions

Annie Fixler , Tyler Stapleton

The House Financial Services Committee approved last week the Strengthening Oversight of Iran’s Access to Finance Act, which codifies in law a set of conditions that the U.S. Treasury must use to evaluate licenses for the sale of commercial aircraft to Iran. more...

6th November 2017 – FDD's Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance Policy Brief

Wakeup Call for Chinese Banks on North Korea Sanctions

Anthony Ruggiero

The Treasury Department on Thursday issued an advisory on North Korea’s use of the international financial system to evade U.S. and UN sanctions. The advisory sent an unmistakable message to senior compliance officers in Chinese banks: Treasury knows you are violating North Korea sanctions and this is your last warning. more...

6th November 2017 – The Hill

US Treasury takes on terrorism: Non-kinetic warfare that works

Jonathan Schanzer

America’s foreign policy challenges are mounting. From North Korea and Iran to ISIS and Russia, the news cycle churns with reports of new threats and new concerns. more...

20th October 2017 – FDD's Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance Policy Brief

Implications of the New IRGC Sanctions

Annie Fixler

The U.S. Treasury designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) under Executive Order 13224 for its support for terrorism last Friday, pursuant to Congressional legislation. While the immediate legal implications are limited, the designation of the IRGC in its entirely sends a chilling message to companies doing business in Iran. more...

16th October 2017 – FDD Policy Brief

Removing Sanctions While Retaining Leverage in Sudan

Alex Entz

Though President Trump’s decision to decertify the Iran Deal largely dominated headlines last week, it was not the administration’s only major foreign policy action. Last Thursday, the Trump administration lifted sanctions on over 200 Sudanese entities, a decision based in part on the Sudanese government’s reported progress in fighting terrorism, promoting peace, and improving humanitarian access throughout the country. The U.S. also secured assurances that Sudan would not buy weapons from North Korea. more...

4th October 2017 – FDD Policy Brief

Time to Designate Hezbollah as a Transnational Criminal Organization

Emanuele Ottolenghi

Intended to fight transnational organized crime, Executive Orders 13581 and 13773 lay out a clear policy that identifies the convergence between terror finance networks and transnational organized crime as a critical threat to our national security. Regardless, neither President Trump nor President Obama designated Hezbollah as a Transnational Criminal Organization (TCO). more...

29th September 2017 – Foreign Affairs

How Washington Can Counter the Rise of Hezbollah

Jonathan Schanzer, Orde Kittrie, Alex Entz

Hezbollah, the Lebanese militia and political party, is now the most powerful actor in Lebanon. Since 2006, Hezbollah’s last declared conflict with Israel, the group has amassed military hardware to rival that of a formal standing army and evolved into Lebanon’s most important political power broker. For those who view Hezbollah as a destabilizing force, with links both to terrorism and to Iran, the question is how best to counter this rise. more...

24th September 2017 – Fox News

Why Trump’s economic moves against North Korea may do more to tame Kim than any insult

Anthony Ruggiero

China’s announcement Saturday that it would halt exports of some petroleum products to North Korea and stop importing textiles from the rogue nation is just the latest evidence that President Trump’s campaign to put economic pressure on North Korea is beginning to pay dividends. more...

22nd September 2017 – The New York Post

Stand up against these terror groups to bolster the US-Egypt alliance

Jonathan Schanzer

There’s a way for the White House to demonstrate its support for Egypt in non-monetary terms. It can sanction two terrorist groups that continue to attack Egypt: Hasm and Liwaa al-Thawra. Such a move would send an important message to the people of Egypt and show America’s own commitment to fighting terror. more...

5th September 2017 – The Weekly Standard

Pyongyang’s Playbook

Anthony Ruggiero

The crisis between the United States and North Korea shows no signs of abating. Indeed, Pyongyang escalated its provocations last week, firing a missile over Japan on August 29. Critics of the president cite his brash approach to Pyongyang as a factor behind North Korea’s belligerency. Some also link Trump’s tough talk about the Iran nuclear deal. Why, they ask, would North Korea want to cooperate with a White House that insists on revisiting a nuclear deal the United States struck with Iran just two years ago? more...

3rd September 2017 – The National Interest

It’s Time to Get Tough on China and Russia about North Korea

Anthony Ruggiero

North Korea conducted its sixth and largest nuclear test Sunday morning, with officials claiming that it was a hydrogen bomb designed to fit on an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). The test followed pictures released by Pyongyang earlier Saturday showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspecting a thermonuclear device. more...

25th August 2017 – Fox News

North Korea sanctions are finally getting serious

Anthony Ruggiero

The Treasury Department sanctioned 10 firms and six individuals this week for facilitating North Korea’s proliferation activities, illicit financial transactions, and sanctions evasion. The list included five Chinese firms and one Chinese individual as well as a Russian firm and four Russian nationals. These new sanctions send a strong message to Beijing and Moscow that there will be consequences for their failure to enforce the sanctions they claim to support. more...

23rd August 2017 – Entrevista por Ramiro Pellet Lastra - La Nacion

Emanuele Ottolenghi: “En la era digital, la radicalización puede darse en dos meses”

Emanuele Ottolenghi

El investigador italiano apuntó contra los sitios web jihadistas y la influencia de figuras de autoridad como los imanes radicalizados more...

23rd August 2017 – FDD Policy Brief

IS Using Front Companies to Support Terrorism

Alex Entz

A recent FBI affidavit unveiled a worldwide, now-defunct network of Wales-based front companies controlled by an IS sympathizer, and demonstrates IS’s capacity to pursue complex financing strategies. more...

22nd August 2017 – The Hill

Trump’s Iran problem takes to the skies with Iran Air

Emanuele Ottolenghi

Iran Air planes have been used to transport extremist militants to and from Syria. The US cannot allow the Islamic Republic's airline to buy more planes from Boeing and Airbus with this going on. more...

16th August 2017 – Fox News

Time to end the North Korea sanctions merry-go-round

Anthony Ruggiero

The Groundhog Day nature of U.S. response to North Korea for the last decade, during Republican and Democratic administrations alike – provocation, followed by multilateral sanctions that usually are not fully implemented, leading to another provocation, to another round of sanctions – begs the question: why will this time be any different? more...

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