The Lebanese Central Bank has announced today that, after months of discussion with US officials, they intend to fully comply with the terms of the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act, which threatens to punish any bank that knowingly does business with Hezbollah.
That’s no small matter, as Hezbollah is part of the ruling coalition in Lebanon, and has a number of members of parliament. Initial concerns were that the US law would effectively hit the entire Lebanese banking sector simply by virtue of Hezbollah’s position in the government.
The central bank’s officials, however, suggest that isn’t the case, and insist that the law only covers “significant” transactions by Hezbollah’s leadership, and that it would not effect the paying of the salaries of MPs from Hezbollah’s political wing or other routine transactions.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah downplayed the law when it first came into effect, insisting that the organization doesn’t use the Lebanese banking system to hold or transfer money to begin with. State Department officials insisted they’ll ensure the law is set up in such a way as to support the Lebanese economy, meaning they probably won’t make significant moves against the banks.
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