Beirut- The Lebanon treasury started paying the salaries of Ministers belonging to the so-called Hezbollah party in cash two months ago. The pays were given in cash as to escape the U.S. sanctions put into effect, Lebanese sources told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.
Effective U.N. sanctions led to the freezing of several bank Hezbollah affiliate accounts belonging to ministers, lawmakers and anyone who is in direct contact with, or close to the organization.
Parliamentary also sources reiterated, confirming, that the so-called Hezbollah ministers and lawmakers had been receiving their monthly checks in cash.
Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorist Financing Daniel Glaser visited Lebanon on May 26-27 to discuss combating illicit finance.
During the visit, Assistant Secretary Glaser met with President of the Chamber of Deputies Nabih Berri, President of the Council of Ministers Tamam Salam, Minister of Finance Ali Hassan Khalil, former Prime Minister, MP Saad Hariri, Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh, Special Investigation Commission (SIC) Secretary Abdel Hafiz Mansour, the Association of Banks of Lebanon (ABL), and security officials.
In his meetings, Assistant Secretary Glaser encouraged Lebanese authorities and financial institutions to continue their efforts to combat the threat of illicit finance and prevent attempts to evade U.S. and international financial sanctions.
On the subject of the recently implemented Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act (HIFPA), A/S Glaser explained that the law does not target Lebanon, nor does it target the Shi’ite community.
HIFPA strictly targets Hezballah’s financial activities worldwide, and will be implemented worldwide, according to media notice released by the U.S. embassy in Beirut.
Assistant Secretary Glaser also discussed joint American-Lebanese efforts to combat ISIS’s financial networks. He reiterated the U.S. commitment to work with Lebanon to protect and promote Lebanon’s financial system.
On the other hand, resentment grew among the so-called Hezbollah community after finding itself financially cornered, even if the prevention act did not affect them directly.
Sources highlight that Shi’ite commercial traders have begun suffering bank obduracy when attending their finances.
Businessmen residing in Beirut suburbs, locally known as the southern Dahyeh-also notorious for being a stronghold for the so-called Hezbollah group- are being treated with extensive bank red tape and service harassment, in addition to being subjected to long marathon-like interrogations when receiving foreign transactions.
A number of foreign transactions are not being allowed to directly deposit into the traders’ bank accounts, rather are being suspended until further notice or till the transactions receives bank approval.