Lebanon’s Central Bank Will Investigate All Transfers Abroad Since Oct 17

The Lebanese Central Bank’s financial “watchdog” has officially requested all commercial banks in Lebanon to conduct a ‘review and report’ and disclose all transfers sent out of the country by politicians and government staff between October 17th and December 31st, 2019.

These efforts are reportedly aimed at uncovering all those who were involved in a mass outflow of funds since the outbreak of the anti-government protests three months ago.

That circular issued on January 9 requested the Special Investigation Commission to investigate all the “significant” transfers that took place between the date of the outbreak of the revolution and the end of 2019.

Economists and activists have taken to the media and online platforms to express that they suspect billions of US dollars were transferred from Lebanon by politicians, all while the banks were closed to the public for almost two weeks after the start of the revolution.

The average Lebanese citizens aren’t having access to their own money and have been subjected to oppressive banking policies of capital control. Meanwhile, politicians were suspected to have been taking personal banking to a whole new level.

The Special Investigation Commission was previously founded by the Lebanese financial authorities in order to investigate all suspected reports of money laundering, terrorism funding, embezzlement, and corruption by the public and private sectors.

It currently acts as the only body within the authority to do so amid stagnation in the formation of Lebanon’s government of protracted “experts.”

That circular asked banks to provide all the information pertaining to this request by January 31, 2020. But, if it is anything like the deadlines the country currently operates on, let us hope this will take place in less than two weeks!

As The Daily Star reports: “Protesters who took to the streets accuse the Central Bank and commercial banks of illegally helping politicians and businessmen of channeling funds to Switzerland and other countries while most lenders were closed for nearly two weeks.”

And it is clear that the average Lebanese citizen trusts no one at this point.

A separate circular, which was sent out from Lebanon’s banking control commission on Tuesday, requested that banks provide the dates and sizes of transfers to Switzerland since October 17.

However, that circular in particular did request information of the depositors who did so. (A loophole I am quite certain politicians are aware of?)

This information is requested within one week. (Not sure why the other request needs so much extra time).

Governor of Lebanon’s Central Bank, Riad Salameh, announced in an interview he gave to MTV News earlier this month that these investigations were taking place. 

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