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Salameh: Some parties irked by Lebanese banking success

Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh is seen in this Thursday, Oct. 19, 2006 file photo. (Mohammad Azakir/The Daily Star)

BEIRUT: The Lebanese banking sector continues to command high confidence despite a campaign by some parties to discredit it, Central Bank GovernorRiad Salameh said.

“The banking sector is under a campaign from certain parties irked by its success,” Salameh told Al-Manar Lebanese television station, adding “but it is strong and continues to benefit from high confidence.”

Salameh did not specify who the parties are.

The governor said the senior U.S. anti-terrorism official David Cohen, who visited Lebanon earlier this week, did not intervene in Lebanon’s financial decision-making.

“[Cohen] did not issue warnings but had limited his visit to making sure the U.S. banking sector is protected from transfers by institutions and persons sanctioned by the U.S.,” he added.

Salameh stressed the importance of the bank secrecy law, saying “it is not breakable unless the concerned person violates Lebanese law and standards.”

He told Al-Manar that he had informed Cohen that Bank Saderat Iran is a bank founded in Lebanon in 1963 and has respected Lebanese law.

“The bank’s [low] capital does not raise suspicions about illicit dealings,” Salameh said, adding: “The Syrian Lebanese Commercial Bank as well is a Lebanese bank whose capital does not suggest it is facilitating any illegal [financial] operations.”

Salameh said Hezbollah is party “dealing normally in [all aspects] of Lebanese life and is present in various official positions,” adding “there is no position on the party’s financial dealings.”

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 24, 2012, on page 5.

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