Lebanese mafia seizes Gulf deposits

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DEPOSITS of Kuwait’s Public Authority for Social Security in the oldest bank in Lebanon – Fransabank – is only the tip of the iceberg revealed in the State Audit Bureau report. The deposits of Gulf individuals and institutions in Lebanese banks are threatened with loss after the theft carried out by those banks under the auspices of a political and financial mafia that left nothing, reaching even the extent of looting food aid from abroad for the needy and the poor.

Here, I beg to ask – Why did the Gulf governments not act years ago when the deterioration of the Lebanese economy started to unfold, which signals the possibility of the authorities in that country to withhold deposits? Did our governments fail to anticipate the fact that those who loot their people and plunder the country’s wealth to smuggle abroad are not worthy to be entrusted with foreign deposits?

Did we really assume that supporting the Lira with foreign deposits in the Lebanese Central Bank would not also be susceptible to it being frozen as a prelude to devouring it?

Since the start of the crisis in Lebanon about three years ago, the Gulf people have been demanding the return of their money. The banks there have been reluctant, relying on the circulars issued by Lebanon’s Central Bank to prevent the transfer of hard currencies abroad. This happened without disclosing any procedures that would reassure non-Lebanese depositors.

“Indeed, wrong is those who think the issue of Gulf funds deposited in Lebanese banks will return through friendly claims, or who rely on formal measures taken by these financial institutions”.

Therefore, it is necessary to take harsh punitive measures on Gulf, Arab and international levels, as it is the only way to recover what was looted by that mafia. It should start with prosecutions, and lead to the freezing of the funds of these banks regionally and globally.

There is no doubt that resolving this file, especially after the high degree of risks, and the talk about large losses recorded by these banks in the past three years, requires quick and swift action so that tens of thousands of Gulf nationals do not lose their money and property in this country, which has become a jungle controlled by a group of looters.

The matter calls for a change in the investment mentality in Lebanon, if there is a solution to the current Gulf-Lebanese crisis.

Unfortunately, Gulf’s amity demeanor and fear for the fate of the Lebanese people, and its keenness to help them financially and to support the national currency were met with ingratitude. Indeed, these looters took advantage of this to speculate on their lira, and drive their country to hell.

Perhaps this is a new lesson that exposes the Lebanese political class of all stripes, which still sees itself as being able to simplify problems with sweet talk, and that the Gulf people still look at Lebanon as it was in the 1940s and 1950s.

Frankly, they are wrong in this … rather they are blind in terms of insight, because they did not observe the great cultural developments in Gulf society. This society has entered the era from its widest doors, and reached the level of contributing to the conquest of space, while the Lebanese people are fighting over a share here and a share there as if they are still in the rivalry era of “Dahis and Al Ghabra” war.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah

Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

This news has been read 18319 times!

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