Riyadh Reportedly Ups Scrutiny of Saudi-Lebanon Bank Transfers


Saudi Arabia has taken new measures concerning bank transfers conducted by Lebanese citizens from Saudi Arabia to their home country, according to the chairman of the Lebanese Chamber of Commerce.

Mohammed Shuqair told Asharq al-Awsat newspaper that currently each bank transfer “takes around three to four days before reaching Beirut, the time Saudi authorities spend to detect the identity of the sender and the party to whom money is sent.”

Shuqair said the new Saudi step was not political, but described it as “a security and economic step that abides by the international banking law.”

Last April, Saudi Arabia and the United States added a number of organizations on their lists of “terrorist groups.”

There are currently 17 individuals and six entities from Hizbullah on the Saudi “terror” list.

Last week, Lebanon’s Central Bank closed 100 bank accounts linked to Hizbullah in line with a U.S. sanctions law targeting the party’s financing.

The Saudi measures come in the wake of a bombing on Sunday evening that targeted the Beirut headquarters of BLOM Bank, the second largest bank in the country. The powerful blast that shook the western part of the capital injured only one person but caused extensive material damage.

BLOM Bank has been criticized by some pro-Hizbullah politicians for taking a hard-line position after Lebanese banks began abiding by the U.S. law which sanctions doing business with the Iran-backed Lebanese group.

Hizbullah has fiercely criticized the law and accused Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh of “yielding” to Washington’s demands and Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah is expected to address both the BLOM Bank blast and the U.S. sanctions in a June 24 speech.