| 19 April 2024, Friday |

Lebanon’s central bank freezes accounts of foreign trade exchanger

Lebanon’s Central Bank froze the accounts of foreign trade exchanger Hassan Moukalled and his two sons, Rayan and Rani, two days after the United States imposed sanctions on them.


The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Moukalled, his sons, and his money service business, CTEX Exchange, to facilitate Hezbollah’s financial activities.


The sanctions also targeted the Lebanese Company for Publishing, Media, and Research and Studies (LCPMR), a company operated by the Moukalled family.


The statement indicated that the Special Investigation Commission (SIC) decided to freeze the financial accounts of Moukalled and his sons with all the banks and financial institutions operating in Lebanon.


The US Treasury said Moukalled worked closely with senior Hezbollah financial officials to help the party establish a presence in Lebanon’s financial system.


The statement added that Moukalled serves as a financial advisor to Hezbollah and carries out business deals on behalf of the group throughout the region.


It accused Moukalled of establishing CTEX as a financial front company in Beirut, and in mid-2021, he received a license from Lebanon’s central bank to transfer money within Lebanon and abroad.


CTEX was reportedly collecting millions of US dollars for the Central Bank of Lebanon, according to the Treasury.


In a statement issued Thursday, Moukalled denied any relationship with Hezbollah or that CTEX was a financial front for any political party or partisan people.


He stressed that the company’s working mechanism with the Central Bank was subject to the bank’s terms and procedures, similar to what is approved by other similar companies.


Moukalled added that the statement about his advisory role and the implementation of commercial deals on behalf of Hezbollah were inaccurate.


He said he would appeal the decision of the US Treasury sanctions against him and the company.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat