Lebanon has $1.2 billion in notes due 9 March 2019/Bloombergby Kudakwashe Muzoriwa
Lebanon’s financial prosecutor issued a decision to freeze the assets of 20 local banks and the personal assets of their heads and members of boards of directors amid an investigation into the illegal transfer of billions of dollars, according to local newswire, National News Agency.
Prosecutor Ali Ibrahim, the Lebanese Financial Prosecutor questioned 14 bankers, including the Head of the Association of Banks in Lebanon, Salim Sfeir, on the transfer of $2.3 billion overseas during October and November 2019.
“Not only will this step protect depositors, but it will also shake banks,” said Ibrahim.
Nationwide protests began in October 2019, forcing the closure of lenders for nearly two weeks. Some officials accused bankers of transferring funds abroad while informal capital controls were in place.
The prosecutor also questioned the bankers on the recent sale of Eurobonds to foreign funds that the judiciary says disrupted the government’s efforts to restructure its debt.
Lebanon has $1.2 billion in notes due 9 March 2019.