Hezbollah members parade in Teffahta during a ceremony commemorating three slain Hezbollah leaders, Imad Mughniyeh, Abbas Musawi and Sheikh Ragheb Harb, Friday, Feb. 14, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)
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Lebanese banks are already doing extra due diligence even before the introduction of a U.S. draft proposal to tighten the noose on the finances of Hezbollah, a leading banker said.The banker, however, advised that the draft which will be reviewed by the U.S. Senate and Congress should clarify the scope of these sanctions and not limit them to Lebanon alone.The banker suggested that the proposed U.S. measures could discourage Hezbollah's sympathizers from making any financial contributions to the party so that their bank accounts won't be frozen.The U.S. financial authorities made it abundantly clear that all Hezbollah members and institutions affiliated to it are subjected to sanctions both in Lebanon and abroad.U.S. officials repeatedly said that these sanctions are not aimed at the Shiite community in Lebanon.Following a visit to Washington in May, delegates from the Lebanese banking sector said U.S. officials seemed impressed by the cooperation of the Lebanese banks and their prompt response to any inquiry.Joseph Torbey, the president of the Association of Banks in Lebanon, returned from Washington with guarantees that the United States is keen to protect Lebanon and its banking sector, adding that the U.S. sanctions only target Hezbollah.
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