Arab Press

بالشعب و للشعب
Sunday, Mar 03, 2024

Lebanese banks suspend strike at PM’s request; pound regains some value

Lebanese banks suspend strike at PM’s request; pound regains some value

Lebanon’s struggling banks on Friday decided to suspend their strike, which started earlier this month, for one week at the request of caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati.
The decision comes as many Lebanese, including civil servants, wait to receive their monthly pay.

Salaries are typically paid toward the end of the month, through bank accounts.

The Association of Banks in Lebanon also said that it realizes the gravity of the economic crisis and the need to secure banking services for citizens at the end of the month.

The announcement came as the Lebanese pound regained some value on the black market, trading at 79,000 pounds to the US dollar. It traded at 81,000 LBP/USD on Thursday.

An economic analyst expected the local currency to regain more value over the weekend.

However, any rise is likely to be temporary since it is not the result of monetary policy, the observer said.

The banks launched the strike on Feb. 7, objecting to judicial prosecutions — led by Mount Lebanon Public Prosecutor Judge Ghada Aoun — against a number of banks on charges of money laundering.

The association demanded an end to the prosecutions and the passing of the Capital Control Law as conditions for reopening.

The analyst indicated that the Public Prosecution Office of the Court of Cassation was in the process of drafting a judicial circular to define a specific mechanism for bank prosecutions.

The circular, which is expected in the coming days, will being an end to the controversy, the analyst said.

The decision to reopen banks came a day after Mikati told Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi to instruct the security services to ignore Judge Aoun’s judicial orders and avoid making arrests.

This step aroused discontent within the judicial body, which believes that the principle of separation of powers has been violated.

It also alleged that the political authority was interfering with the judicial authority in sensitive cases such as the probe into the Beirut port explosion and the prosecution of banks.

Pro-bank politicians argued that Judge Aoun was making random accusations, based on political motives, which could end up destroying the banking sector in Lebanon.

With the approval of six judges and the objection of one, the Supreme Judicial Council Issued a statement, addressed to Mikati and Mawlawi.

The council said: “Pursuant to the principles of separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary, which are enshrined in the constitution and the law, we call on you to reverse the decision that violates these two principles.”

Also on Friday, political observers believed that the prosecution of Central Bank Gov. Banque Riad Salameh, and the referral of the investigation to the first investigating judge in Beirut, Charbel Abu Samra, might freeze the investigations of European judges into cases related to Salameh.

They believed that the move was coordinated to localize the investigation and protect Salameh from external allegations.

On Thursday, Beirut Public Prosecutor Judge Raja Hamoush charged Salameh, his brother Raja Salameh, and his assistant Marianne Howayek with forgery, embezzlement of public funds, violation of tax law, money laundering and illegal enrichment.

Judge Hamoush referred the case to Judge Abu Samra, asking him to interrogate the defendants and issue the necessary judicial warrants against them.

A judicial source told Arab News: “When Judge Abu Samra receives the case, the European judicial delegation would have to deal with him and no longer with the Public Prosecution Office.

“The Lebanese investigation may conflict with the European investigation, especially if the same crime is being investigated in Lebanon and abroad.

“The Lebanese judge can reject any request of the European delegation and the Public Prosecution Office would have to ask the European judicial delegation to postpone its visit to Beirut.”

A judicial delegation from Germany, France and Luxembourg in January began its investigations in Beirut in cases related to corruption, forgery, embezzlement, money laundering and transferring money to banks abroad.

During its stay in the Palace of Justice in Beirut for about a week, the delegation listened to 12 banking figures as witnesses, including former Finance Minister Raya Al-Hassan and former MP Marwan Khair El-Din, along with Salameh’s former deputies.

The judicial delegation was scheduled to return to Beirut for a second round of investigations to hear Salameh and several of his relatives.

The source stressed that Lebanon was committed to the UN Convention against Corruption, and is cooperating with the European delegation.

“However, the international agreement gave the Lebanese judiciary the full right to request the postponement of the international investigation in the event that Lebanon initiates an independent internal investigation into the same case.

“This legal outlet would postpone the return of the European judicial delegation to Beirut.”
Newsletter

Related Articles

Arab Press
0:00
0:00
Close
China Criticizes US for Vetoing UN Ceasefire Resolution in Gaza
Saudi Arabia ranks first in UN index for e-government services in MENA
Israel Records 20% Drop In GDP, War In Gaza Is The Reason
Saudi Arabia's FDI Inflows Grow with New International Standards
Venture Capitals Power Up Across MENA Region
PM Modi Announces Opening Of New CBSE Office In Dubai
January Funding for MENA Startups Totals $86.5 Million
Saudi Arabia accelerates digital economy growth through Nvidia partnership
Israel unveils tunnels underneath Gaza City headquarters of UN agency for Palestinian refugees
Israel deploys new military AI in Gaza war
Egypt threatens to suspend key peace treaty if Israel pushes into Gaza border town, officials say
Saudi Arabia Warns Of A "Humanitarian Catastrophe" If Israel Moves On Rafah
US University To Shut Qatar Campus Due To "Heightened Mideast Instability"
Facebook and Instagram Ban Iran's Supreme Leader
Defense Technology Showcase Held in Riyadh
Saudi Arabia’s non-oil exports rise 2.5% to $6bn in November 2023: GASTAT
Rolls-Royce Executive Encourages Saudi Women to Tap into Their Inner 'Superhero' for Success in Defense Industry
Saudi Arabia launches National Academy of Vehicles and Cars
Saudi Tourism Minister Reveals Plan for 250,000 New Hotel Rooms by 2030
SAR to more than double eastern network passenger capacity with new trains deal
Saudi Arabia Enhances National Defense with New Partnerships
Saudi Aramco Maintains Arab Light Crude Pricing to Asia for March
NEOM Establishes New York Office to Support Investors
Saudi Wealth Fund Draws in Over $25 Billion Worth of Investments in Three Years, Al-Rumayyan Reveals
The Saudi Kingdom's Ultimatum to Israel: A Win-Win Peace with Saudi Arabia and the Arab World, or a Lose-Lose Continued Occupation and Endless Conflict
Biden condemns anti-Arab hate after WSJ opinion piece calls Dearborn ‘jihad capital’
Turkey Releases Seven Hostages Captured by Pro-Gaza Gunman
Arab Parliament Commends Women's Contributions to Societal Development
British and Hungarian Foreign Ministers visited Lebanese leaders to stress the importance of enacting UN Resolution 1701
Yemen's Houthis Say They Targeted British Merchant Vessel In Red Sea
Donald Trump Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize for 'Historic' Middle East Policy
US lawmakers approve F-16 jet sale to Turkey following NATO expansion support
Saudi Arabia Climbs 25 Places in World Bank's National Statistics Indicator
Tourism Growth in Saudi Arabia Fuels Advancements in the Hospitality Industry," Says Rotana Official
Houthi Rebels Request Departure of UN Staff from Yemen, Including US and UK Personnel, within a Month
Modi Inaugurates Hindu Temple on Site of Demolished Mosque in India
Over 25,000 Deaths in Gaza Amid Israeli Offensive
Escalating Clashes in Gaza as Israel Distributes Leaflets to Assist in Locating Hostages
Turkey's First Astronaut Set to Launch for International Space Station Today
Head of Palestinian Investment Fund Warns More People May Die of Hunger Than War in Gaza
Palestinian Envoy Criticizes UK for Alleged 'Double Standards' in Policies Toward Israel
Morocco to Lead UN Human Rights Council in 2024
Is artificial intelligence the solution to cyber security threats?
Egypt has been identified as the leading military force among Arab nations and ranks 15th globally
The AI Revolution in the Workforce: CEOs at Davos Predict Major Job Cuts in 2024
Iranian Nobel Laureate Narges Mohammadi Receives Additional Prison Sentence
"Gazans Urge Israeli Forces to Target Hamas in Leaked Audio"
Biden States US and UK Airstrikes on Houthis Were a 'Defensive Action
Large Pro-Palestine Rally in London as Gaza Conflict Hits Day 100
South Africa Urges World Court to Halt Israeli Actions in Gaza
×