The Government of Qatar and the Qatar Central Bank are taking action to ensure that the sanctions announced by U.S. Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”) against Syria International Islamic Bank (“SIIB”) are not evaded by persons dealing with Qatari financial institutions. In that connection, the Qatar Central Bank will instruct all banks and financial institutions to take appropriate steps to ensure that the sanctions announced by Treasury are not evaded by persons dealing with them. This action is in line with the continuing co-operation between the Government of Qatar and the United States to maintain economic pressure on the Assad regime.
The decision of Treasury to designate SIIB pursuant to Executive Order 13382 makes clear that the action taken by Treasury does not, and is not intended to, target Qatari investors in SIIB. A number of Qatari investors hold investments in SIIB dating back to the establishment of the bank in 2006 and, in addition to those investments, three Qataris also served as non-executive directors of SIIB. In light of Qatari interests in SIIB, the United States proactively consulted with the Government of Qatar in advance of announcing its decision to designate SIIB. Following the announcement by Treasury, the Qatar-based directors of SIIB have resigned. Qatari investors in SIIB will not seek board representation and will remain passive investors.
Qatar will continue its leadership on international sanctions against the Syrian regime when Qatar co-chairs the Friends of Syria International Working Group on Sanctions meeting in Washington D.C. on 6 June with Turkey and the United Sates.