After the country had been lambasted by the international financial community for being a haven for “dirty” money, Lebanon's parliament approved on Tuesday, April 10, a law that will curtail money-laundering.
This legislative measure was taken in order to encourage foreign investments flow into Lebanon, by working to remove its name from international money-laundering blacklists, formulated by the G-7’s Financial Advisory Task Force (FATF).
According to the national news agency ANI "The money laundering legislation was voted after an extensive debate at the parliament session today,” and legislation was "voted after the government confirmed that passing the legislation would not jeopardize banking secrecy or mean that Lebanon is a scene for money laundering."
Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri was quoted confirming "we want this legislation, not because there are money laundering operations in Lebanon but because we want to legalize all matters in the right way."
Equipped with the new bill, Lebanon’s legal authorities will be able to crack down on individuals deliberately concealing the source of monies earned through drug trafficking, terrorism, illegal arms dealing, embezzlement of public funds and forgery.
Violators of the laws would face jail terms of between three and five years and a fine of no less than $13,000.
According to the new law, Lebanon's central bank will be charged with coordinating the battle against money laundering, and will have the power to decide when it is necessary to disregard bank secrecy.
The possibility of bank secrecy been violated is a touchy issue in Lebanese financial circles, where concern has been expressed that the country may lose its status as a regional banking center. — (Albawaba-MEBG)
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