British Embassy statement on Lebanese banks closing bank accounts

This unilateral action by the banks singled out account holders on the basis of their British residency or nationality, in an apparently targeted and discriminatory manner.

We continue to express our serious concerns to senior representatives of the Lebanese government, Lebanese financial authorities and Lebanese banking institutions.

Since the banks began to close their accounts, British Ambassador Ian Collard has met with the Union of Depositors, the President of the Association of Banks in Lebanon, senior representatives of certain banking institutions, the President of the Commission of banking supervision, the Governor of the Central Bank and the Prime Minister of Lebanon. During each of his meetings, the Ambassador clearly expressed his concerns regarding the treatment of British depositors and British residents in Lebanon and the legitimate perception of discriminatory action against them, as well as possible violations of relevant banking laws and regulations. .

Ambassador Collard urged the Lebanese authorities to ensure that all depositors are treated properly and fairly, and he stressed the importance for Lebanese banks not to discriminate against account holders on the basis of their nationality or residence. British.

The Ambassador was assured by the Chairman of the Banking Commission and the Governor of the Central Bank that measures are being actively considered to adequately protect all depositors concerned.

In light of the banks’ actions, the British Embassy recommends any British national who has been affected by the banks’ decisions to seek qualified legal advice in Lebanon. This is not a service that the Embassy can provide. If needed, UK nationals can find a list of English-speaking legal representatives in Lebanon on the UK government website.

This unfortunate situation is symptomatic of Lebanon’s failing economy. Since the onset of the economic crisis, the UK has joined its international partners in calling on the Lebanese government to enact much needed and overdue economic reforms. Without such reforms, the Lebanese economy continues to plummet, with serious repercussions for all bank depositors in Lebanon, as well as Lebanese citizens in general and other people residing in Lebanon. Reforms are the only way to rebuild the Lebanese economy.

The British Embassy will continue to advocate as part of our pledges that British nationals and residents should not be unfairly affected by the decisions of banks, and calls for a speedy resolution to this matter.

Shawanda H. Saldana