Lebanese Banks committed to anti-Hezbollah Law, says Central bank chief


riad salamehCentral Bank Governor Riad Salameh has confirmed that the Lebanese banks will comply with the U.S. law that imposes sanctions on banks that knowingly do business with Hezbollah

Salameh told LBCI’s Kalam al-Nass talk show on Thursday night that the Central Bank will issue two circulars that urge Lebanese banks to implement the law and inform it about the closure and opening of accounts.

U.S. President Barack Obama signed the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act on Dec. 18.

This month, the U.S. treasury department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, issued regulations aimed at implementing the Hezbollah financing prevention act.

The U.S. regulations say Washington will target those “knowingly facilitating a significant transaction or transactions for” Hezbollah and those “knowingly facilitating a significant transaction or transactions of a person identified on the List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked persons.”

OFAC’s list includes names of officials, businessmen and institutions that the U.S. says are linked to the Iranian -backed Hezbollah militant group. The list includes Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasarallah and top military commander Mustafa Badreddine as well as some Hezbollah linked businessmen. The list also includes the group’s mouthpiece al-Manar TV and Al-Nour Radio.

Salameh said the accounts of persons mentioned in the blacklist will be immediately closed. But he stressed that Lebanon will continue to enjoy its banking secrecy.

Lebanon adopted the banking secrecy law in 1956 in a bid to attract Lebanese and foreign deposits.