July 25, 2018 / 2:48 PM / 22 days ago

U.S. Treasury sanctions people linked to Syria chemical weapons

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Treasury Department imposed sanctions on Wednesday against five groups and eight individuals linked to Syria’s chemical weapons program, the department said in a statement.

The targeted groups and people were key to a network that procured electronics for the Syrian agency that develops the weapons, it said.

“Syria’s horrific use of chemical weapons, including attacks against innocent women and children, remains deeply embedded in our minds,” said Sigal Mandelker, Treasury undersecretary for terrorism.

“Today, we are continuing our campaign to stop the Assad regime’s ruthless attacks by targeting the procurement networks that have supported its chemical weapons program,” she said.

The Treasury said it coordinated its action with France, which earlier this week renewed an asset freeze on 24 entities and individuals for providing an array of support to the Syrian agency.

Among the companies Treasury designated is Electronics Katrangi Trading (EKT), an electronics supplier based in Lebanon with operations in Syria, Egypt, China and France.

Treasury called it a leading supplier for Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Center, the agency in charge of its chemical weapons programs.

Amir Katrangi, Maher Katrangi, Houssam Katrangi, Mohamad Katrangi, Mireille Chahine, are individuals linked to EKT who were among the people cited in the sanctions statement.

It said Golden Star Co has provided, or attempted to provide, support for EKT’s operations for the Syrian agency and Polo Trading was designated for being owned or controlled by Amir Katrangi.

Treasury said it sanctioned Antoine Ajaka and Anni Beurklian, former residents of Waltham, Massachusetts, for helping Katrangi procure U.S.-origin electric components destined for Lebanon and Syria.

Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Bill Trott and Jonathan Oatis

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