Economic challenges and security concerns: Is Lebanon a safe haven for the wanted?

News Bulletin Reports
2023-08-23 | 12:23
High views
Share
LBCI
Share
LBCI
Whatsapp
facebook
Twitter
Messenger
telegram
telegram
print
Economic challenges and security concerns: Is Lebanon a safe haven for the wanted?
Whatsapp
facebook
Twitter
Messenger
telegram
telegram
print
3min
Economic challenges and security concerns: Is Lebanon a safe haven for the wanted?

Recent articles published in both Arab and international media have raised questions about whether Lebanon has become a safe haven for individuals sought by the justice system.

A series of articles, from a piece in the Western magazine Foreign Policy on August 2 to the Middle East newspaper's edition on August 23, have depicted Lebanon as a sanctuary for individuals evading justice.

Lebanon's characterization as a refuge for those wanted by the law has gained traction due to Lebanese authorities leveraging existing regulations in numerous countries worldwide.

In Lebanon, these laws prohibit the extradition of any individual holding Lebanese citizenship, requiring their trial to be conducted within the Lebanese judiciary.

This approach famously brought Carlos Ghosn from Japan to Lebanon in 2019, prompting an Interpol notice against him. The same applies to former Banque du Liban (BDL) Governor Riad Salameh, who is wanted for questioning by several European countries following an Interpol warrant against him.

These articles have highlighted that Lebanon, due to its economic and financial challenges, is gradually becoming a sanctuary for non-Lebanese individuals and non-Lebanese nationals.

Paradoxically, Lebanese security authorities intermittently attempt to improve their image by only arresting non-Lebanese individuals wanted internationally.

According to the Kuwaiti online newspaper "Al-Anbaa," the most recent case involves Bartolomeo Giovanni Prozanniti, an Italian cocaine trafficker, who lived in Lebanon for ten months before his arrest and extradition to Italy on August 3.

Lebanon is also becoming a safe haven for individuals subject to international sanctions. Many Lebanese individuals subjected to foreign sanctions reside within the country, primarily politicians.

However, these sanctions appear to have a limited impact on their daily lives due to Lebanon's cash-based economy and extensive reliance on cash transactions.

This cash-based economy, which has become a safe haven for those seeking to evade sanctions, currently constitutes nearly half of Lebanon's economic output.

The financial landscape enables those listed under sanctions to live comfortably, with the Washington Institute considering it a pivotal facilitator for drug and Captagon trade, money laundering for Hezbollah-affiliated networks, Iran, and cross-border syndicates.

The Institute recommends expanding sanctions to cover money transfer companies tied to the BDL and currency exchange companies linked to Hezbollah, especially OMT, BoB Finance, and Whish Money, along with their owners, in accordance with international anti-money laundering regulations.

As Lebanon grapples with economic and financial collapse, a prolonged presidential vacuum, and burgeoning security concerns, it transforms into what some describe as a refuge for the wanted – a conduit for money laundering and drug trafficking. Here lies the real battle ahead.
 
 

Lebanon News

Lebanon Economy

News Bulletin Reports

Economic

Challenges

Security

Concerns

Lebanon

Haven

Wanted

LBCI Next
Lebanese diplomacy: Foreign Minister to begin official talks in New York on UNIFIL extension
BRICS summit: Shaping the future of emerging economies
LBCI Previous
Download now the LBCI mobile app
To see the latest news, the latest daily programs in Lebanon and the world
Google Play
App Store
We use
cookies
We use cookies to make
your experience on this
website better.
Accept
Learn More