Lebanon denies reports Saudi Arabia has halted bank transfers to the country

The Association of Banks in Lebanon has denied a media report that claimed Saudi Arabia had halted bank transfers to the country.

Lebanon’s Al Joumhouria newspaper said that Lebanese citizens in Saudi Arabia were finding it practically impossible to transfer funds back home, citing unnamed Lebanese banking sources.

“This report is totally and categorically baseless,” the association said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Bank operations between Lebanon and the Gulf in general, and Saudi Arabia in particular, are running as usual, in a totally normal way, including money transfers both ways.”

The newspaper cited banking sources as saying that the Saudi authorities had instructed Saudi banks to halt transfers from Lebanese individuals and companies alike.

Relations between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia have soured since the kingdom suspended a US$4 billion aid package to the Lebanese army and security forces, after Beirut failed to condemn attacks on the Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran in January.

Iranian protesters burnt the Saudi embassy in Tehran and stormed the Saudi consulate in Mashhad after Riyadh executed a prominent Shiite cleric on terrorism charges.

Saudi Arabia has called on the Lebanese government to distance itself from Iran-backed Hizbollah, which holds sway in the Lebanese government and parliament.

The GCC this month declared Hizbollah a terrorist group and several countries have deported Lebanese residents with links to the group.

Saudi Arabia also blacklisted four companies and three individuals for having ties with Hizbollah.


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