M'sia ready to engage with US on claims of money flowing to Iran and Hamas, says Saifuddin

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is prepared to engage with the United States following reports of an uptick in money moving to Iran and its proxies, including Hamas, through the Malaysian financial system, says Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.

The Home Minister said he will be meeting the US Treasury's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence Brian Nelson on Thursday (May 9) to listen to matters the latter wanted to raise.

"I will give my explanation and the official position of the Malaysian government on the matters that are raised," he told reporters on the sidelines of the Defence Services Asia (DSA) and National Security (NatSec) Asia 2024 on Wednesday (May 8).

ALSO READ: Top US Treasury official to travel to Singapore, Malaysia to discuss sanctions

US Ambassador to Malaysia Edgard D. Kagan said on Monday (May 6), the visit by US Treasury Department officials will be in the spirit of partnership to discuss common threats.

Kagan said 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.

According to a press release issued by the US Treasury Department, Nelson and US Treasury general counsel Neil MacBride will travel to Singapore and Malaysia to advance its work countering terrorist financing and revenue generation by Iran and its proxies as well as to discuss the implementation of sanctions and export controls against Russia.

In Malaysia, they will discuss US efforts to disrupt terrorist financing, including through fundraising for fraudulent charities and illicit oil sales, while ensuring that US sanctions and other financial measures do not impede the flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza, added the statement.

They will also meet with the financial sector to discuss compliance and enforcement efforts, it read.

ALSO READ: US treasury officials visiting Malaysia in spirit of partnership

According to a Reuters report, a source said that Nelson, 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.

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.

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.

The US Treasury has imposed significant sanctions on Iran and its terrorist proxies, such as Hezbollah, Hamas and the Houthis, aimed to sever the financial flows that fuel instability in the Middle East.

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