U.S. imposes sanctions on Iraq-based money exchange for Islamic State ties

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Treasury imposed sanctions on Wednesday on an Iraq-based money services business, Afaq Dubai, believed to be moving funds for the Islamic State militant group.

The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control added Afaq Dubai to its list of specially designated global terrorists for “assisting in, sponsoring or providing financial, material or technical support” for the Islamic State group, the department said in a statement.

The Treasury action followed a Pentagon decision on Oct. 11 targeting a financial group supporting Islamic State. The Treasury said the moves are part of a broader U.S. effort to target a network of money services businesses that enable Islamic State to carry out operations across the Middle East.

In September, the Treasury took action against Islamic State financial facilitators with ties in the Caribbean and the Middle East. It took action against a money exchange group in Syria in December 2016.

The Treasury said Afaq Dubai is located in Iraq and does not have branches in the United Arab Emirates, despite its name. Afaq Dubai is run by two Islamic State financiers and as of early 2018 was laundering money for the group and providing money for families in the group, the Treasury said.

Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Writing by David Alexander; Editing by Andrea Ricci