In information related to the mtv website, the Special Investigation Commission at the Banque du Liban has commissioned the Secretary-General of the Commission, Abdel Hafiz Mansour, to prepare a schedule for conducting field visits to banks operating in Lebanon, in order to verify the extent to which they apply the provisions of Clauses 1 and 2 of Article Two of Circular 154 issued by the Governor of Banque du Liban And based on the provisions of the Anti-Money Laundering Law No. 44/2015. Provided that the secretary general of the commission submits a report on the results of the visits to the body headed by the central governor.
The second article of Circular 154 issued on August 27, 2020, states in its first two paragraphs:
1- While preserving the concept of Basic Decision No. 13217 dated 4/9/2020, banks, in order to enhance their liquidity, especially with their correspondents abroad, must search for their clients, who have transferred more than a total of five hundred thousand US dollars or its equivalent in other foreign currencies into Foreigners in the period starting from 7/1/2017 until the date of issuance of this decision, provided that they deposit in a “special account” frozen for a period of 5 years, an amount equivalent to 15% of the transferred value. The concerned bank is exempt from making compulsory employment with the Banque du Liban in foreign currencies in exchange for any “special account”.
2- Banks should urge their importing clients from abroad to transfer to a “special account” enjoying the same conditions specified in Clause (1) of this section, an amount equivalent to 15% of the value of documentary credits opened in any of the following three years: 2017, 2018 or 2019.
3- Interest can be paid on the “private account” without being restricted to the interest ceilings specified in Basic Decision No. 13100 dated 3/9/2019.
– Second: Clause “First” of this article applies to the chairmen, members, boards of directors, and major shareholders of banks, and “to the higher executive departments” of banks and bank customers who are politically exposed persons (PEPs), directly or indirectly, or through companies owned by any of them. Provided that, in the course of implementing Clause “Second”, this percentage is 30% instead of 15%.
Financial sources confirmed to the mtv website that the step of the central governor confirms that he has fully regained the initiative in his endeavor to revitalize the banking sector and thus the monetary sector in Lebanon, while the government and political authority are completely absent from dealing with any financial or economic file or carrying out any reforms that have become more than necessary. Before it’s too late. The financial sources did not rule out that Riad Salameh would be exposed to a media campaign driven by some of those affected by his strictness in the banking file in order to push him to be lenient with some banks, which is what Salameh will not do no matter how intense the campaigns are.