SLCB rebuffs US sanctions
“Our dealings are clean; we are subject to supervision of Central Bank”, bank Chairman says
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The Syrian Lebanese Commercial Bank (SLCB) downplayed US sanctions against it, rebuffing accusations that it has been offering financial services to Iran and North Korea.

“The bank has never had any operation with neither a North Korean nor Iranian entity," SLCB’s Chairman Doureid Ahmed Dergham said in a press statement.

SLCB is the Beirut-based subsidiary of Syria’s state-owned Commercial Bank of Syria which was targeted by US sanctions last week.

“SLCB is a Lebanese institution fully controlled by the Central Bank and subject to supervision of the regulatory authorities,” Dergham said. He said that the bank was confident that its correspondent banks and clients would ignore the sanctions.

The sanctions freeze any assets held by the firms in US jurisdiction and prohibits US companies and individuals from doing business with them. In May 2004, the US Treasury identified the Commercial Bank of Syria as a financial institution of primary money laundering concern.

“We do not deal in US dollars and we don’t have any transactions with the US,” a source at the SLCB said. The source said that there are always other options for international transactions and that the bank has its own ways to do its business. He refused to further elaborate.

In 2010, SLCB reported LL20,161 million ($13.4 million) in profits, a 50 percent jump from the profits recorded for the previous year. According to the bank’s figures, assets stood at LL821,198 million ($547.4 million) at end-2010.
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Date Posted: Aug 18, 2011