The amendments to the bank secrecy law are out of context and I suggest that they be repealed as they represent an obstacle and a barrier to anti-corruption issues… Lebanon

Arab News Press B .. National Media Agency Shahid Tueni from the “Forum for Dialogue and Giving”: Amendments to the law on banking secrecy are out of context and I suggest that it be canceled because it is an obstacle and an obstacle to anti-corruption issues. Now look at the details.

NNA – “Forum for dialogue and giving without borders” and the Association “Our deposits are our right” hosted the former minister for the fight against corruption, Nicolas Tueni, who discussed the recent changes to the bank secrecy law. Hammoud, the coordinator of the forum, Dr. Talal Hammoud, spoke at the beginning, who pointed out that “after we recently joined the founding board of the Front of Associations and Societies for the Protection of Depositors’ Rights, we recently opened a file of serious negativity of the recent changes to the bank secrecy law. This comes as part of our continuous monitoring and follow-up of all steps, plans, draft laws or laws that may affect, from near or far, the issue of depositors in Lebanese banks or the anti-corruption record in Lebanon and the plans for economic and financial recovery, which through this entire period seemed to come within the framework of a recurring and regular approach. He is followed by the pillars of the corrupt government, and his main goal is to protect the corrupt and violent, liquidate the issue of depositors and erase their rights.” He stated that this interest in the changes approved by the House of Representatives at the session held on October 18, 2022 comes because we all know the exceptional importance of this law in any reform path. especially in terms of the fight against corruption that is rooted in all Lebanese ministries, departments and institutions, as well as its importance in terms of restoring the trust of citizens, the international community and all its donor or monitoring institutions, especially those involved in helping Lebanon to economically and revive financially and prevent the completion of its collapse. Tueni then presented his intervention, which he began with the words: I am not an expert in legislation and laws, so I prefer to enter into the function of these laws. First, in form, bank secrecy law has its historical foundations. Countries like Switzerland and others began to apply it, and the function of bank secrecy in those countries was to bring money, the money of the rich in Europe and the rich in America and the world, to a safe haven where there are no high wealth taxes and no taxes to be paid once a year flat, as is the practice in Switzerland, etc. He pointed out that Brigadier General Raymond Edde proposed this law and that it was voted in Lebanon. Parliament, after Nakba Palestine. As a result, more than £250 million sterling flowed into Lebanon during this period, and money began to flow into Lebanon at the pace of the coups that had begun in the Arab world as a whole…. Money began to flow into Lebanon, especially from the wealthy Arabs and from the money of the surrounding Arab countries, and Lebanon was also a haven for merchants at that time. Merchants imported goods into Lebanon and re-exported them to Arab countries and the Gulf. The job of this money and the job of these banks was, of course, to keep the money and keep the depositors’ behavior and identity a secret. He said: “Today this law seems to be out of time and place. If it was in geography, there is no Arab money coming to Lebanon today. And if it was in history, then the history of these changes has been overshadowed by time and money is no longer coming from Arab countries, but quite the opposite. In Lebanon, as far as we know, there has been a reverse migration of capital, so that more than 20% of deposits have been transferred out of Lebanon during the gray transition period. I believe that these deposits included ten thousand depositors, which represents more than 40% of the deposit funds. As for the rest, it seems that there is an amount of money deposited by the Lebanese from the Arab depositors, which is quite a large number, but now they represent only between 10 and 15% of the deposits .” He added: “This information is tentative and not certain. What is certain is that what is left, i.e. 95 percent of depositors today are from the category of depositors who make up only 50 percent of the total deposit, and all of them are small or medium accounts that have not been transferred abroad. So this secrecy is based on Who? Will will money come to Lebanon in the near future? Will Lebanon get money in the near future for depositors who have financial problems, embargoes or problems in their country? And he believed that “with international laws and Lebanon’s entry into the international anti-corruption strategy and Lebanon’s signature on all anti-money laundering laws and suppression of suspicious transfers or numbered accounts of unknown identity or unknown origin, or with the lack of knowledge about the source of these funds, it became very difficult for this law to have What effectiveness, but on the contrary, it damages the country’s image abroad? And he said: “In relation to bank secrecy, these banks located in Lebanon have destroyed themselves from the inside in the programmed destruction that has happened in the last three years, namely, by paying out about 35 billion dollars of depositors’ money to protect the Lebanese pound, as Deputy Prime Minister Saadeh Al-Shami said. Likewise.” In the beginning, there was approximately $25 billion in debt to the state, and that amount swelled to $80 billion with exorbitant interest rates charged by banks to the Lebanese state, since Lebanon had a policy of protecting the Lebanese pound since the late 1990s. and the policy of high interest. In order to bring in money, but this policy of course killed all productive businesses in Lebanon, because there are no businesses that can compare their quick profits with the very high interest rates given by the banks. In this way, all kinds of productive businesses in Lebanon suppressed, and the country began to deal only with the importation of money, not only from depositors, but also from expatriates, Arabs, and foreigners. He asked, “Where does banking secrecy interfere in these matters?” He said: “Bank secrecy entered the day when the famous twenty billion dollars were transferred after the crisis and after the demonstrations and movements, that is, in October 2019. These amounts were transferred within the framework of bank secrecy which represented the protection and cover for the transfer of these amounts .What is a banking secret today? It is a banking secret on the table crumbs for bank accounts, you and we both have them in some banks, and these accounts today do not exceed their real value between $5000 as a minimum to $100.00 as a maximum . It is today the scene of banking secrecy.” He continued: “I believe that we, as Lebanese, and as an objective reading of this law, we can say that these amendments today have come outside of geography and outside of history in form and content. They are unnecessary and I think it is just a slogan of a folklore law that is embellished with some articles, but I don’t think it will have any effect.” In the new economic recovery or development plan, i.e. in the future plan to support the Lebanese economy and the recovery and restructuring of failed banks or financial institutions that have lost credibility on the Lebanese market, I strongly suggest that this law be completely repealed and not changed. The law is on the way to changes in the parliament, but I don’t see any benefits from it? , represents an obstacle and a barrier to anti-corruption topics, and there is no economic or financial benefit from it. n.m

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Looking at Tueni from Dialog and Atta Forum, changes to the Bank Secrecy Act out of context

These were the details of Tueni from the “Forum for Dialogue and Giving”: The amendments to the Banking Secrecy Act are out of context and I suggest that they be repealed because they are an obstacle and a barrier to anti-corruption issues. We hope we have succeeded in giving you all the details and information.

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