Press Release / / 10.11.19

U.S. Sanctions Al-Cardinal, Tycoon Named in Investigative Reports by The Sentry

U.S. Sanctions Al-Cardinal, Tycoon Named in Investigative Reports by The Sentry
Sentry Co-Founder George Clooney: “Al-Cardinal has built a corporate empire on the back of predatory business dealings in South Sudan.”

October 11, 2019 (Washington D.C.) — Today, the United States placed sanctions on Ashraf Seed Ahmed Hussein Ali, widely known as Al-Cardinal, a tycoon with ties to the U.S., UK, and UAE.

Today’s action by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) target Al-Cardinal and his network of businesses, and come in the wake of two recent investigative reports by The Sentry “The Taking of South Sudan” and “Al-Cardinal: South Sudan’s Original Oligarch,” that detailed the business activities of Al-Cardinal, among others, and urged governments to sanction him and his networks.

George Clooney, Co-Founder of The Sentry, said: “Al-Cardinal has built a corporate empire on the back of predatory business dealings in South Sudan. He now has business operations from Ethiopia to the United States and owns expensive real estate in places like London and Dubai. These international commercial activities mean that governments around the world have the tools to take action and impose meaningful consequences.”

John Prendergast, Co-Founder of The Sentry, said: “This action by the Treasury Department is an important step forward in creating some accountability for those who have long thought they can loot South Sudan with impunity. Governments around the world that are committed to peace and human rights in South Sudan would do well to replicate these sanctions in order to amplify impact and cut off those who do business with violent kleptocrats from the international financial system. And global banks should utilize their compliance powers to ensure enforcement of these and other sanctions against those looting the world’s newest country.”

Joshua White, Director of Policy and Analysis at The Sentry, said: “The Sentry applauds today’s action by the Department of the Treasury, which should serve as a warning to the financial facilitators and commercial enablers of corrupt South Sudanese elites that they will lose access to the dollar unless they cease doing business that funds violence in the country. The United Kingdom and other European countries, as well as those in the region, should follow suit by deploying network sanctions and anti-money laundering measures to amplify the impact of today’s action.”

The Sentry reports named Al-Cardinal as a major profiteer who has received hundreds of millions of dollars in suspect contracts, formed businesses with ruthless military commanders, and imported weapons to South Sudan used to wage a war that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.

J.R. Mailey, Director of Investigations at The Sentry, said: “Billions of dollars have been looted from South Sudan. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed. All of this is facilitated by greedy international companies and tycoons who enable looting and continued war. Today’s action shows how governments around the world can create consequences for a key enabler of continued war and corruption.”

Brian Adeba, Deputy Director of Policy at the Enough Project, said: “The U.S. government hit these profiteers exactly where it hurts them most — their wallet. Greed and a quest for profit are at the core of South Sudan’s conflict. Targeting their wealth and ability to move money is the best way to impose consequences and build the leverage needed for peace, human rights, and good governance.”

The Sentry’s investigation found that Al-Cardinal has exploited opaque procurement processes, weak oversight institutions, and cozy relationships with South Sudan’s most powerful politicians to line his own pockets.

“A major enabler of corruption and violence for President Salva Kiir’s government,” according to the The Sentry’s reporting, Al-Cardinal has been embroiled in major procurement scandals, set up private businesses with ruthless military generals, imported military equipment during a bloody civil war and landed lucrative contracts linked to the implementation of the peace deal in South Sudan.

Read the full report “Al Cardinal: South Sudan’s Original Oligarch”:
Read the full report “The Taking of South Sudan”:

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact: Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606, [email protected]


The Sentry is an investigative and policy team that follows the dirty money connected to African war criminals and transnational war profiteers and seeks to shut those benefiting from violence out of the international financial system. By disrupting the cost-benefit calculations of those who hijack governments for self-enrichment in East and Central Africa, the deadliest war zone globally since World War II, we seek to counter the main drivers of conflict and create new leverage for peace, human rights, and good governance. Co-founded by George Clooney and John Prendergast, The Sentry is composed of financial investigators, international human rights lawyers, and regional experts, as well as former law enforcement agents, intelligence officers, policymakers, investigative journalists, and banking professionals.

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