US targets 3 businesses of drug kingpin

THE Treasury Department has sanctioned three businesses allegedly connected to a Mozambique man whose name was added by President Barack Obama's administration to a list of international drug kingpins.

THE Treasury Department has sanctioned three businesses allegedly connected to a Mozambique man whose name was added by President Barack Obama's administration to a list of international drug kingpins.

Obama placed Mohamed Bachir Suleman on the government's list of so-called specially designated narcotics traffickers.

The move by law triggered Treasury's sanctions against three businesses said to be linked to Suleman - Grupo MBS Limitada, Grupo MBS-Kayum Centre and Maputo Shopping Centre.

Any assets the businesses may have under US jurisdiction are now frozen and US citizens are barred from any financial or commercial dealings with them.

The Treasury Department said Suleman was a large-scale drug trafficker in Mozambique and his network contributed to the growing narcotics trade and related money laundering across Southern Africa.

Suleman's network in Mozambique is centred on his family-owned business conglomerate, Grupo MBS Limitada, which includes a retail store named Grupo MBSKayum Centre and the Maputo Shopping Centre.

Mozambique is increasingly becoming a transit country for the shipment of drugs and chemicals used to make them, according to the State Department, which has cited hashish, cannabis, cocaine, heroin and Mandrax - mostly destined for Europe and South Africa.

A combination of porous borders, poorly trained and equipped law enforcement agencies, and government corruption allow drug traffickers to operate freely in Mozambique, the State Department says.

The 1999 Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act targets major foreign drug traffickers, their groups and associates who act on their behalf. The law prohibits all trade and transactions between designated traffickers and US firms and individuals, and freezes their assets within US jurisdictions. The so-called Kingpin Act doesn't target the countries in which the designated individuals and companies operate.

Since naming the first significant foreign drug traffickers under the law in June 2000, US presidents have identified a total of 87 alleged drug kingpins, including Suleman. - Sapa-AP

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