The Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah militant group is challenging the repercussions of a US law targeting its finances by taking measures that have been described as harsh. According to available information, the group formed a “committee of financial and economic experts around ten days ago to examine the options available in order to embark on this financial battle”.
In addition to this, other information states that the group “has warned two Lebanese banks of the consequences of continuing with their political approach, especially as they intend to close some accounts belonging to people who do not have a direct relationship with the group”.
According to the information, the warning will escalate to become a “legal obligation” according to which depositors will withdraw their money and deposits in full and stop banking with the banks in the event that their “arbitrary approach” continues.
The information also indicates that there is a tendency to “expand restrictions on the group through procedures that are being formed so that sanctions can be imposed on officials of Lebanese movements that sympathise with Hezbollah and who have business interests outside of Beirut”.
The Lebanese government discussed the subject of US sanctions and the manner of applying them at a meeting yesterday after the group insisted that the subject was prioritised.
According to senior banking sources, the attempt to circumvent the US law by using the Lebanese pound as an alternative currency to the dollar “did not succeed on the grounds that the law takes all currencies into consideration”. The sources also pointed out that the matter is currently in the hands of the Special Investigation Commission that will soon issue a circular for banks that will determine the procedure to be followed before accounts of people associated to the group are opened or closed.
The group’s increased resistance to the US sanctions against the party comes days before the US Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing Daniel Glaser’s visit to Beirut to discuss the dimensions of failing to comply with American law with Lebanese officials.