Author Archives: Jeremy Arbid

Lebanese banks comply with US Hezbollah Act

Lebanese banks comply with US Hezbollah Act

The introduction to this interview has been updated in response to the June 12 bombing of the Blom Bank headquarter branch in the Verdun district of Beirut. The original introduction began by noting the ire of Hezbollah party leaders in their reaction to the central bank’s early May decision (circular 137) ordering local banks to

Updates on Lebanon’s banking sector

Executive sat with the governor of Banque du Liban (BDL), Lebanon’s central bank, Riad Salameh, for updates on the banking sector, the results of the central bank’s monetary policy, the stimulus of the knowledge economy – known as Circular 331 – and the response to latest foreign initiatives, namely compliance with the United States’ Hezbollah

Compelled to comply

“Should I be worried?” wondered one Beirut Souks restaurant owner. During a lunch at the local establishment the restaurateur passed by the table to inquire about the meal and service, casually mentioning concern over an American law – one targeting Hezbollah’s alleged money laundering through financial institutions worldwide. Local business owners outside the banking industry

Retribution over rehabilitation

Drug use in Lebanon is said to be prevalent but remains difficult to define. An estimate from a 2012 report by the Institute of Health Management and Social Protection at Saint Joseph University in Beirut suggested that the “number of drug users in Lebanon ranges from 10000 to 15000 and that this figure is continuously

Up to standard

With the mid-April implementation of the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act (HIFPA), signed into United States law in December 2015, Executive inquires whether Lebanese financial institutions face an increased level of American scrutiny. The new law places liability on any financial institution, not just Lebanese banks, if they were to knowingly facilitate financial transactions connected

Damage control

New legislation in the United States targeting Hezbollah has Lebanese government and banking officials shuttling between Beirut and Washington, not to rush to its defense but to assess the level of damage heading this way. Remembering the forced closure of the Lebanese Canadian Bank in 2011, local officials are more than a little concerned at

Gray Money

In late January, French authorities, at the behest of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), busted a European drug trafficking and money laundering cell. The DEA alleged that this cell was responsible for overseeing a Hezbollah narcotics trafficking and money laundering network. “These drug trafficking and money laundering schemes utilized by [Hezbollah] provide a

Caught in the headlights

They were under surveillance for at least a year until the door was kicked in. Business was good, product was moving quickly and the cash was flowing, enough so to catch the attention of multiple international law enforcement agencies. But on the last Thursday of January the jig was up. Two individuals, Mohammad Noureddine and

Still sanctioned

Merhi Abou Merhi, a Lebanese business tycoon and former board member of IBL Bank, has not been acquitted by federal prosecutors, sources at the United States Department of Justice and the Department of Treasury told Executive March 8. A report carried by Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency (NNA) on March 7 claimed that Abou Merhi,

Crime and punishment

Not much is known about Captagon prevalence in Lebanon. Anecdotal testimony regarding court cases and rehabilitation treatments suggest that use is low but rising. The prevailing explanation for this is that there is a leakage of pills into the drug-using community as more Captagon is produced in the country and trafficked through it, but there