Lebanon Taking Steps to Implement Dirty Money Law
Lebanon’s central bank has provided all Lebanese banks and financial institutions with guidelines for identifying money-laundering operations, as a first step toward implementing a money-laundering law passed last month, reported the Daily Star newspaper on Wednesday.
The law prescribes heavy fines and jail terms for those convicted of money laundering, although the legislation stops short of lifting the country’s cherished banking secrecy laws.
Lebanon is hoping that passing and implementing the law will take it off an international blacklist of 15 countries that are allegedly not cooperating in the fight against money laundering, said the paper. The Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF), part of the Group of Seven industrialized countries, meets again in June to discuss revisions to its list.
Expectations are that the FATF will keep Lebanon on the list for now, but will not recommend that Western countries impose financial sanctions on the country.
The FATF will probably want firmer evidence that the law is being implemented before taking Lebanon off the list.
The central bank said that “banks and financial institutions are responsible for monitoring their own financial operations according to the published guidelines to avoid being implicated when a money-laundering case is exposed,” according to a statement, cited by the paper.
The new measures require banks to obtain proof of identity from clients who wish to open any kind of account, secure loans, rent safe deposit boxes or enact cash transactions worth $10,000 or more, added the statement.
Banks and financial institutions will also be required to keep on file clients’ details, including their full name and address, for at least five years after they close an account or complete a financial operation. Banks will be required to present a signed document identifying the beneficiary of the transactions they conduct, it added – Albawaba.com
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