Itongadol.- The head of the Financial Information Unit (UIF), Mariano Federici, confirmed an extension of the order to «freeze» the financial activities of entities linked to the Lebanese group Hezbollah after being included in the new National Register of Persons and Organizations Suspicious of Terrorism. «Last year we ordered the administrative freeze of assets and funds of 14 people belonging to this organization, because we already had the power,» he said.
In remarks to the «Cada Mañana» program, conducted by journalist Marcelo Longobardi on Radio Mitre, the official said: «What we did yesterday was to order the freezing of entities that make up the organization as the External Security Organization of Hezbollah, including the secretary general, the undersecretary general and the head of the executive wing, who is also responsible for providing it financial support».
When asked if the people involved had bank accounts in the country, the head of the FIU said: «Not at all, but they are linked to people who have been entering our country, operating from our country and who finance the organization commanded by these people». These individuals are being investigated in the framework of a financing of terrorism case being carried out by the federal judge of Eldorado, in the province of Misiones.
«Beyond that cause, the Hezbollah organization is also implicated as highly suspicious in the commission of the attacks that took place here in the 1990s,» said the official, who noted that both the files and judgments of the justice system indicate Hezbollah as responsible for the attacks.
Regarding the decree signed by President Mauricio Macri, Federici explained that the rule will allow more publicity to be given to the registration of this type of freezing, which previously the FIU only ordered and communicated to its regulated subjects. «Now this is advertised so that everyone knows what the position of Argentina about this organization is,» he said. Federici also explained that it aims to be «a deterrent mechanism».
«What we are trying to do is to create a system that would discourage the organization and anyone linked to it who wants to provide support and come and operate in our country. Anyone who carries out or intends to carry out any operation with Hezbollah is going to have the operation suspended and the assets frozen,» he said.
Federici indicated that the UIF understands that Hezbollah «has no assets in the country,» although he clarified that with this presidential decree they expect «the responses of regulated subjects to the freezing orders». «Without prejudice to this, what the decree seeks is that they never have assets in the country and that nobody intends to make an operation in favor of this organization that, for us, is accused of causing much damage to Argentina,» he added.
Finally, the official stressed: «This measure taken by the government puts Argentina in a place of leadership. It is the first country in Latin America to list Hezbollah as a terrorist organization and we hope that other countries in the region will follow this same path, because we believe that this organization not only represents a threat to national security and the integrity of Argentina but also to other countries in the region».