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Lebanese banks concerned over Hezbollah sanctions bill

Lebanese banks are worried that a US bill aiming to increase sanctions on Hezbollah will weaken confidence in the banking sector.
People are seen leaving Lebanon's Central Bank in Beirut July 7, 2011. Lebanese banks which worked for years to build up business in neighbouring Syria have been quietly implementing U.S. and European Union sanctions against Damascus to avoid jeopardising their international operations, bankers and economists say. Picture taken July 7, 2011. To match Feature LEBANON-SYRIA/BANKS   REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir    (LEBANON - Tags: BUSINESS) - RTR2XHQQ
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On July 22, the US House of Representatives passed the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act to prevent Hezbollah — classified as a terrorist organization since 1995 — from gaining access to international financial institutions. 

The move was no surprise. It aims to restrict the activities of Hezbollah, which represents Iran’s military wing in the Mediterranean region and is accused of supporting the Syrian regime. This process began two years ago, when a report issued by the US Treasury found that Hezbollah was laundering money through the now-defunct Lebanese Canadian Bank. A settlement deal was reached, whereby $102 million was paid to US authorities in lieu of prosecution. In June 2013, the US Treasury, under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act, decided to sanction four Lebanese citizens and three Lebanese institutions for their involvement in the organization of a network financing Hezbollah.

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