Today, the United States is designating Gibran Bassil, the leader of the Lebanese Free Patriotic Movement and a former Lebanese cabinet official, under Executive Order (E.O.) 13818 for his role in corruption. E.O. 13818, which builds on and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, targets corruption and serious human rights abuses around the world.
Bassil has served in multiple high-level posts in the Lebanese government, including as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants, Minister of Energy and Water, and Minister of Telecommunications. Throughout his government career, Bassil has become notorious for corruption and has been linked to the purchase of influence within Lebanese political circles. While Minister of Energy, Bassil was involved in approving several projects that would have steered Lebanese government funds to individuals close to him through a group of front companies.
Today’s actions build on the recent counterterrorism designations under Executive Order 13224 of former Lebanese officials, Yusuf Finyanus and Ali Hassan Khalil, who put personal interests and those of Iran-backed Hizballah ahead of the welfare of the Lebanese people. Through his corrupt activities, Bassil has also undermined good governance and contributed to the prevailing system of corruption and political patronage that plagues Lebanon, which has aided and abetted Hizballah’s destabilizing activities. Lebanese political leaders should be aware that the time has long passed for them to put aside their own narrow self-interests and instead work for the people of Lebanon.
In addition to his designation pursuant to Global Magnitsky sanctions authorities, I am announcing the designation of Bassil under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2020 (Div. G, P.L. 116-94), due to his involvement in significant corruption. Under Section 7031(c), once the Secretary of State designates officials of foreign governments for their involvement, directly or indirectly, in significant corruption, those individuals are ineligible for entry into the United States.