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French Version


Regulator freezes suspect accounts

Regulator freezes suspect accounts - The Daily Star

The Central Bank's Higher Banking Commission asked all commercial banks Friday to freeze the accounts of prominent businessmen and companies suspected of money laundering

."This is one of the few times the Higher Commission has asked us to freeze accounts of clients," an industry source told The Daily Star, adding that the Central Bank had also requested the lifting of banking secrecy from the suspect accounts.

Some of the suspects were reportedly connected to Al-Madina Bank, a small bank which was suffering from liquidity problems. The source said freezing the accounts doesn't necessarily mean the suspects were guilty. Officials from the Central Bank refused to comment on the circular's request.

Al-Madina, with assets of less than $300 million, said in a statement that it has raised its capital and integrated the balance sheet of the United Credit Bank, which it acquired two years ago. But sources say it is still suffering from a lack of cash and is considering selling its assets to a larger bank.

Bankers said that Al-Madina had issued a number of bad checks, but the chairman of the bank, Adnan Abu Ayyash, reportedly managed to rectify the problem and settle accounts. Sources said that the deposits of the banks were not affected by the alleged laundering activities.

Beirut 24-02-2003
Osama Habib
The Daily Star



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