Bank Audi Reportedly Closed More Than 30 British-held Accounts

Reportedly, Bank Audi has closed more than 30 accounts belonging to United Kingdom citizens after a London’s court ordered Bank Audi and SGBL Bank to pay back the full deposits of a British businessman, amounting to $4 million.

This news came as the first court in the UK to obligate Lebanese banks to transfer money stuck in their banks.

As reported by lawyer Dina Abou Zour, a member of the Depositors Union in Lebanon, Bank Audi told their UK clients that their accounts had been closed and a Money Order cheque of their deposits was issued at a public notary.

The clients were also told that their accounts could be reopened if they signed a waiver of the right to make transfers or the right to withdraw dollars in Lebanon.

On March 2nd, Bank Audi told a news agency that the court order “means that wealthy depositors in the United Kingdom can get the remaining of their deposits,” but it “will significantly reduce the money available to the other depositors.”

Bank Audi had previously said that it will comply with the UK order but will consider its options on appeal, since the order will lead to unequal treatment among depositors abroad, and depositors in Lebanon.

Since the start of the economic crisis, many Lebanese people inside and outside Lebanon have protested against the current banking sector, demanding the right to withdraw their own money.

Despite that, the ongoing capital control is still not lawfully approved by the Lebanese state, and many depositors started suing banks in Lebanon.

Related: London Court Just Ordered Two Lebanese Banks To Pay $4 Million To U.K. Depositor.