Latest News

British embassy in Lebanon ‘deeply concerned’ at bank account closures


BEIRUT (Reuters) -The British embassy in Beirut said on Friday it was “deeply concerned” by Lebanese banks closing accounts belonging to people who are nationals or residents of the United Kingdom.

In a statement, the embassy said “this unilateral action” by banks had singled out account holders on the basis of their British residency or nationality, in “what appears to be a targeted and discriminatory manner”.

The statement did not name any lenders in Lebanon’s crisis-hit banking sector, where more than $100 billion of hard currency savings remain stuck, with most depositors unable to access their funds.

A union for savers with funds stuck in Lebanese banks says that more than 50 British savers have been in touch because their accounts were unilaterally closed or they feared their closure, since a Feb. 28 UK court ruling ordering two Lebanese banks to transfer funds to a UK client.

The Feb. 28 UK court order required Lebanon’s Bank Audi and its peer SGBL to transfer $4 million to a client, the first UK ruling obliging Lebanese banks to transfer dollars out of the banking system, raising the prospect of similar actions.

Lebanon’s financial system collapsed in 2019 under the weight of massive public debts caused by decades of corruption, waste and patronage by the government, which borrowed heavily from the Lebanese banks.

In the absence of any capital control law in Lebanon, banks began imposing informal restrictions on withdrawals and transfers abroad as the financial system collapsed in 2019.

These controls were never formalised with legislation and have been challenged in local and international courts, with mixed results.

Legal tussles between banks and depositors seeking their cash are also playing out in Lebanon.

And, in response, more banks have been closing accounts and issuing cheques for the balance without consulting clients, lawyers acting for depositors say.

British Ambassador Ian Collard urged “the Lebanese authorities to ensure that all depositors are properly and fairly treated, and he underlined the importance of Lebanese banks not discriminating against account holders on the basis of their British nationality or residency”.

In meetings with officials including the central bank governor and the prime minister, he “made clear his concerns about the treatment of British national and British resident depositors”, the statement said.

British embassy in Lebanon ‘deeply concerned’ at bank account closures

Disclaimer:Fusion Mediawould like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

Teva stock jumps toward longest win streak in 2 years, after Bernstein analyst turns bullish

Previous article

Why Housing May Not Get as Hammered as Usual in This Rate-Hike Cycle

Next article

You may also like


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Latest News