Money Laundering, Terrorism & Financial Institutions
Published by Civic Research Institute,

23 Jun 2003
USA PATRIOT Act Monitor News Release: : OFAC Designation Upheld

In Holy Land Foundation v. Ashcroft, the D.C. Circuit Court upheld the Office of Foreign Assets Control's designation of the Holy Land Foundation as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT). In December 2001, the Office of Foreign Assets Control designated the Foundation as a Specially Designated Terrorist (SDT) and SDGT, alleging that the Foundation was closely linked to Hamas. The Foundation challenged the designation and seizure in district court and filed a motion for a preliminary injunction, seeking to enjoin the government from blocking or freezing its assets. The district court granted summary judgment and dismissed most of the Foundation's claims. The district court found that there was "ample evidence" that the Foundation had been involved in various meetings with Hamas leaders, had provided funds for Hamas-controlled charitable organizations, and had supported families of Hamas martyrs financially. The circuit court upheld the district court, noting that "[t]here is no free exercise right to fund terrorists." Though the recently issued Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations were not discussed in the case (they were issued after the events under consideration), financial institutions should be aware of the requirements imposed on them in dealing with individuals and entities that have been designated as SDGTs by OFAC. The sanctions, in new 31 CFR Part 594, not only affect charities, such as the Holy Land Foundation, but also place obligations on any financial institutions they have dealt with, as discussed in Money Laundering, Terrorism and Financial Institutions.


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