Lebanon has a large amount of frozen U.S. dollar bills that are not valid for exchange, the representative of the Federation of European Chambers of Experts in Beirut, Counselor Nabil Bou Ghantous, has warned.
Bou Ghantous cited in a statement the recent reports about large quantities of invalid U.S. dollars being imported from Iraq and sold in Lebanon, as “solid evidence of what we had previously warned of.”
As he noted, these dollar bills have had their serial numbers deactivated and are no longer viable for exchange.
However, smugglers have recently been sneaking them into the Lebanese market from Syria, Iraq, and Libya, sometimes passing through Turkey, “in a trade that is active in the countries surrounding Lebanon as a result of events and the evasion of supervision.”
“Promoters are often working openly, and they now have pages and groups on social media, and they provide free delivery service for any amount of dollars required,” Bou Ghantous explained.
“Our citizens are required to be careful and not fall into their nets as a result of the temptations of the falling price of the green currency.”
People who need U.S. dollars should only secure them from banks and legitimate money changers and money transfer companies, he advised.
That is especially true for the parents of Lebanese students abroad because financial institutions in foreign countries not only reject inactive dollar bills, but their use would potentially expose the students to legal risks in addition to the losses, according to Bou Ghantous.