US to freeze Mozambican assets
Washington - The US Treasury Department on Tuesday moved to freeze assets of three businesses linked to accused Mozambican drug kingpin Mohamed Bachir Suleman.
The Treasury move followed US President Barack Obama's identification of Suleman as a drug kingpin under a US law that clears the way for financial and economic sanctions against foreign drug traffickers.
The Treasury Department said Suleman leads a drug trafficking and money laundering network in Mozambique that is centered on his family-owned business conglomerate Grupo MBS Limitada, which includes the Grupo MBS - Kayum Centre retail store and the Maputo Shopping Centre.
Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) froze assets the businesses may have under US jurisdiction. The move also prohibits US citizens from conducting financial or commercial transactions with the three businesses.
"Mohamed Bachir Suleman is a large-scale narcotics trafficker in Mozambique, and his network contributes to the growing trend of narcotics trafficking and related money laundering across southern Africa," OFAC Director Adam Szubin said in a statement.
"Today's designation builds upon the president's identification of Suleman by exposing three of his businesses and applying further financial sanctions against his narcotics trafficking network."
Mozambique is increasingly becoming a transit country for the shipment of narcotics and chemicals used to produce illicit drugs, according to the US Department of State's 2010 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report.
The report also says Mozambique serves as a trans-shipment point for such narcotics as hashish, herbal cannabis, cocaine, heroin, and mandrax (methaqualone), most of which are consumed either in Europe and South Africa.
OFAC has applied financial and economic sanctions against more than 700 people and entities worldwide that are linked to 87 drug kingpins since June 2000.