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Lebanese bank hires anti-Hizballah former US Treasury official for terror-financing advice Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Lebanese bank hires anti-Hizballah former US Treasury official for terror-financing advice

The move comes amid US-imposed financial sanctions against Lebanese banks [Getty]

Date of publication: 7 September, 2017

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Lebanon's Société Générale de Banque au Liban assigned on Wednesday former US treasury department official Daniel Glaser as a senior adviser to its chairman.
A bank in Lebanon has assigned US former treasury department official Daniel Glaser as a senior adviser to its chairman, Société Générale de Banque au Liban [SGBL] announced on Wednesday.

The move comes amid US-imposed financial sanctions against Lebanese banks that deal with the country's powerful Shia Hizballah political group, which the US considers a terrorist organisation.

SGBL's chairman Antoun Sehnaoui said Glaser's experience working in the US government will offer advice on policies to prevent 'terrorism financing' but stopped short of naming Hizballah as being targeted in the measure.

"SGBL stands to benefit deeply from Glaser's deep background and immense expertise in protecting financial systems from abuse," Sehnaoui said.

"He brings great value to our team by helping further uphold our standards of financial transparency, and allowing SGBL and its subsidiaries to continue growing on all business lines domestically and internationally."

Glaser welcomed his new role stressing the need to tackle the financing of terrorism.

"Banks are at the front lines in the global fight against illicit finance and the efforts to strengthen the global financial system from abuse," he said.

Glaser is a known advocate of tougher sanctions on Iran, Hizballah and Palestinian militant group Hamas.

Former US President Barack Obama signed the Hizballah International Financing Prevention Act in 2015, imposing sanctions on foreign financial institutions that deal with the political party and its affiliated TV channel Al-Manar.

Since then, banks in Lebanon have refused to deal with Hizballah ministers, MP's and affiliates to dodge the huge fines imposed as a result of the Act.

Many, however, argue that US sanctions will not harm the party's financial activities, as Hizballah has its own banking system and does not deal with US currency.

The Lebanese government and central bank have been successfully lobbying US politicians to push Washington towards a softer anti-Hizballah stance to preserve economic stability.

Their main concern is that US correspondent banks may find it too risky to carry out business with Lebanese banks and as a result undermine the country's economy, which heavily relies on dollar deposits.

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