US treasury officials visiting Malaysia in spirit of partnership

KUALA LUMPUR: An upcoming visit by officials to Malaysia from the United States Treasury Department officials will be in the spirit of partnership to discuss common threats.

United States Ambassador to Malaysia, Edgard D. Kagan, said the Treasury's Under Secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence Brian Nelson and his team will be here to conduct ongoing discussions with key partners on the importance of a unified global response to critical threats.

"US discussions are typically very candid, very frank and cover a wide range of issues.

"We are approaching this very much in the spirit of partnership, with the sense that we do share common threats and challenges," he told reporters on Monday (May 6) on the sidelines of the Defence Services Asia (DSA) and National Security (NatSec) Asia 2024.

According to a Reuters report, a source said that Nelson, who is the US Treasury's top sanctions official, will travel to Singapore and Malaysia as Washington seeks to combat funding for Iran and its proxy groups as well as evasion of its sanctions on Russia.

The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there had been an uptick in money moving to Iran and its proxies, including Hamas, through the Malaysian financial system.

Reuters also reported that Nelson is expected to discuss the US’ concerns and the risk such activity poses. The US Treasury's general counsel, Neil MacBride, will also make the trip.

The visit comes as the US Treasury has increased its focus on terrorist financing through South-East Asia, including through fundraising efforts and illicit Iranian oil sales, the source said.

The US Treasury in December imposed sanctions on four Malaysia-based companies it accused of being fronts supporting Iran's production of drones.

Washington has recently imposed further sanctions targeting Iran, including over Iranian drones used by Russia in the war in Ukraine, as the United States has sought to ratchet up pressure on Tehran after its attack on Israel.

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