Lebanon Businessnews News

Financial crimes on the rise
597 cases reported
Embezzlement is the most reported crime
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The number of money laundering and terrorism financing crimes reported to the Central Bank’s Special Investigation Commission (SIC) increased 27 percent to 597 cases in 2017.

Nearly 80 percent of the cases were reported by local entities with the remaining 20 percent received from foreign entities.

The SIC has so far investigated 514 of these cases, or 86 percent of the total. It has referred 250 of the investigated cases to the General Prosecutor and to requesting authorities. These included 48 cases that involved bypassing banking secrecy laws.

The total number of cases received by SIC becomes 586 cases after excluding 11 administrative assistance cases provided by the Central Bank’s Banking Control Commission.

The most frequent reported offense was embezzlement of private funds which accounted for 32 percent of the total cases. It was followed by forgery which represented 18 percent of the total. Terrorism and terrorism financing accounted for eight percent. The remaining types of crimes include such offenses as narcotics trading, fraud, tax evasion, corruption, insider trading, and smuggling.

The number of cases of embezzlement of private funds reported by local entities rose 32 percent to 179 cases in 2017 compared with a more than a 400 per cent upsurge in 2013. Most of the embezzlement offenses consisted of cybercrimes, which totaled 148 cases reported by local entities in 2017.

According to Abdul Hafiz Mansour, Secretary General of SIC, 188 spontaneous disclosures were handled in 2017. He said that risk-based onsite compliance examinations relating to anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing covered 28 banks, 18 finance companies, 28 insurance companies, 83 money dealers, and a number of other reporting entities.

“We continue to increase our resources, work on capacity building and on creating more awareness as well as on strengthening coordination between our national agencies,” Mansour said.

Reported by Shikrallah Nakhoul
Date Posted: May 03, 2018
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