Middle East

US sanctions 2 Lebanese businessmen and member of parliament

20:47, 28 October 2021
US sanctions 2 Lebanese businessmen and member of parliament Photo: Marwan Naamani/dpa/Global Look Press

The US Treasury announced that it imposed sanctions on 2 businessmen and a member of parliament who is a lawmaker affiliated with the Shia group Hezbollah.

The causes of the sanctions lie in the corruption problem that has led Lebanon to the state it currently is in.

The two businessmen who were sanctioned are Jihad al-Arab and Dany Khoury who were close to the top politician Gebran Bassil and the former Prime Minister of Lebanon Saad al-Hariri who stepped down following massive protests calling for the ousting of the government. 

While the lawmaker Jamil Sayyed has worked on the banking policies which were manufactured in a way to enrich politicians and businessmen at the expense of the poor through a financial scheme. 

The Treasury said that he allegedly attempted to "skirt domestic banking policies and regulations" and transferred $120 million abroad "presumably to enrich himself and his associates."

Following the accusation Sayyed said that he will hold a press-conference devoted to the issue.

Due to their contacts among politicians the two businessmen managed to get a special high paid state contract without going through the tender process.

Among the contracts which Khoury won is a $142 million contract devoted to operating a coastal landfill.

The work of Khoury was criticized in the Treasury’s statement as it said that Khoury’s company was "accused of dumping toxic waste and refuse into the Mediterranean Sea... all while failing to remedy the garbage crisis."

Bassil denied the allegations concerning his aid to Khoury saying "he is not my partner in politics, nor am I a partner in business."

Following the release of the information concerning the sanctions US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that it is "an important step in promoting accountability in Lebanon."

"Lebanese officials must end corruption and take urgent action to address the crises the Lebanese people face," he added.