Riad Salameh, Governor of the Central Bank (BDL), has confirmed that a civil lawsuit by around 1,200 plaintiffs was brought against 11 Lebanese banks for being in assistance of Hezbollah. The plaintiffs, all US citizens, have filed the lawsuit in a New York court.

The defendants in the lawsuit include the following banks:
1. Bank Audi
2. Bank of Beirut
3. Bank of Beirut And The Arab Countries (BBAC)
4. Banque Libano-Française (BLF)
5. BLOM Bank
6. Byblos Bank
7. Fransabank
8. Jammal Trust Bank
9. Lebanon And Gulf Bank (LGB)
10. Middle East Africa Bank (MEAB)
11. SGBL

The civil action was brought on January 1 2019, under “…the AntiTerrorism Act by American nationals who were injured, and by the estates and families of American nationals who were killed or injured, by reason of acts of international terrorism in Iraq between 2004 and 2011 that were committed, planned or authorized by the United States designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (Hezbollah) in coordination with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps…”

Bank Med is the only bank from the top ten (Alpha banks) excluded from the lawsuit. Other banks which in the past had altercations with the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) at the US Department of Treasury were also sparred in the lawsuits.

The US government is not involved in the lawsuit, but the case is based on various official listings of Hezbollah and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as terrorist organizations.

The Association of Banks (ABL), in a statement, said that a similar lawsuit filed in 2007 against five Lebanese banks was dismissed by a New York court. “We are firmly convinced that these lawsuits are lacking factually and in seriousness,” read the ABL statement. “These two lawsuits have no legal basis,” it said.

Salameh has minimized the impact of the lawsuit. He referred to a similar lawsuit brought against Arab Bank – which took 14 years to be judged. A jury awarded $100 million to 16 plaintiffs out of 527 who joined the suit. An appeals court had dismissed last April the jury verdict.

Source » businessnews