Federal bank of Lebanon
Federal Bank of Lebanon denied Thursday a media report claiming it is one of the Lebanese financial institutions being sued by the U.S. over money-laundering allegations.
“The bank has nothing to
do with the civil lawsuit filed by the United States against certain individuals and institutions ... and it is not among the defendants in this case,” a statement by the bank’s lawyers said.
On Dec. 21, Al-Akhbar newspaper released a report detailing what it claimed was the lawsuit filed by the U.S. government earlier this month against Lebanese institutions.
According to the paper, the lawsuit maps out money-laundering transactions made possible with the help and cooperation of Lebanese financial institutions and companies owned by Lebanese outside the country.
The claim by the U.S., the paper said, accuses these institutions of being part of a Hezbollah network for cocaine producers in Colombia and Venezuela.
"The claim includes three Lebanese banks involved in the case and they are 'Blom Bank,’ 'Federal Bank,' and 'Bank of the Middle East and Africa,'" the newspaper said.
The report by the pro-Hezbollah daily also accused the Federal Bank of facilitating the process of transactions from the Lebanese Canadian Bank between 2007 and 2011.
In the statement, Federal Bank of Lebanon, founded in 1952 by Michel Ayoub Saab, also said that it has been operating in the Lebanese market for over 60 years.
“[The bank] has always complied with Lebanese laws and international standards. Therefore, all banking transactions remain safe from any suspicion and were in accordance to Central Bank's regulations,” the statement added.
The U.S. government filed a lawsuit against Lebanese financial institutions earlier this month for wiring more than $300 million into the U.S. in a money-laundering scheme that allegedly benefited Hezbollah.
In the claim, the American government is asking for nearly half-a-billion dollars in penalties from some Lebanese financial entities, 30 U.S. car buyers and a U.S. shipping company.
The suit followed a report by the New York Times claiming that the Lebanese Canadian Bank was the hub for international money-laundering operations aimed at funding the resistance group, deemed as a terrorist organization by the U.S.
The Lebanese-Canadian Bank was charged by the U.S. Treasury on Feb. 10 with money laundering and financing a terrorist organization, an allegation denied by both the bank and the Central Bank. In June, SGBL finalized the acquisition of the Lebanese Canadian Bank's assets and liabilities.