U.S. blacklists Pakistan nationals on suspicion of money laundering

October 11, 2016 3:26 PM EDT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States blacklisted four men and their companies based in Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday, for purported ties to an organization accused of laundering money for drug traffickers and Chinese, Colombian and Mexican crime groups.

Among them was Pakistani national Obaid Khanani, whose father Altaf Khanani was arrested by U.S. authorities in September 2015 and accused by the U.S. Treasury Department of laundering billions of dollars for the Taliban and other groups.

The department said in a statement that Obaid Khanani, 29, continued to help lead his father's money laundering organization after the arrest. Altaf Khanani is set to be tried on money laundering charges in Miami this month, according to federal court records.

Another man on the list, Hozaifa Khanani, also 29, is Altaf Khanani's nephew and was involved in real estate investments on behalf of his uncle's organization, the Treasury Department said. Muhammad Javed Khanani, Altaf Khanani's brother, was "heavily involved in laundering criminal proceeds via money service businesses" Treasury said. It said a fourth man, Atif Polani, helped move funds on behalf of Khanani's organization.

The sanctions block any assets the men or companies might have had in the United States, and bars Americans from dealing with them.

"Treasury remains committed to combating illicit money laundering networks around the world and today's action is the result of close coordination with our partners in the United Arab Emirates," said John E. Smith, acting director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control, which imposes sanctions.

The department also blacklisted several businesses based in Pakistan and Dubai for either being owned by the men or being linked to money laundering.

(Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati and Joel Schectman; editing by Grant McCool)



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