Lebanon: Bank said to launder money abides by laws

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
February 11, 2011 15:53

BEIRUT — The governor of Lebanon's Central Bank on Friday disputed claims by the United States that a local bank was laundering money for smugglers tied to Hizbullah, saying the financial institution abides by all national and international regulations.

Riad Salameh said the Lebanese Canadian Bank SAL has the "absolute support of the Central Bank," the state-run National News Agency reported.

The US Treasury Department on Thursday had designated the bank a "primary money laundering concern," claiming it helped launder up to $200 million a month for a Lebanese-based drug smuggling with ties to the militant Hezbollah group.

In a statement released late Thursday, LCB "categorically denied any link to the operations mentioned" by the US Treasury Department.

"The bank works with complete transparency and respects all laws in its dealings," the LCB statement said, adding it was ready to cooperate with authorities to prove it "is not involved, directly or indirectly, in suspicious" acts.


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