Central Bank governor Riad Salameh speaks in Beirut, Friday, July 31, 2015. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh and Lebanese bankers dismissed claims that Gulf nationals are withdrawing their deposits from Lebanon in a sign of solidarity with Saudi Arabia.Other bankers interviewed by The Daily Star stressed that they did not record any significant withdrawal of deposits since Saudi Arabia decided to freeze the $4 billion military and police grants to Lebanon to protest what it termed Hezbollah's blatant intervention in Arab affairs, most notably in Syria and Yemen.These bankers insisted that the figures of Arab deposits in Lebanese banks are exaggerated and inaccurate, noting that some news media publish numbers without clear reference to sources. Bankers say the bulk of customer deposits in Lebanon belong to Lebanese nationals, both resident and nonresident. Makram Sader, secretary-general of the Association of Banks in Lebanon, told The Daily Star that around 25 percent of the deposits in Lebanese banks belong to Lebanese living outside Lebanon and not to Gulf nationals.
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