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BANK HOLDUPS

Blom Bank confirms agreement with depositor behind Tariq al-Jadideh holdup

The bank did not confirm the amount they offered depositor Abed Soubra.

Blom Bank confirms agreement with depositor behind Tariq al-Jadideh holdup

Security forces in front of one of the Blom Bank branches that was held up last week in Beirut. (Credit: Mohammad Yassin/OLJ

BEIRUT — Blom Bank reached an agreement on Friday with depositor Abed Soubra, who was behind the holdup of a Blom Bank branch in the Tariq al-Jadideh neighborhood, Beirut, last Friday, Blom Bank's spokesperson confirmed to L'Orient-Le Jour, without disclosing the sum of money given to Soubra or indicating whether the sum agreed upon by both parties will be paid in cash.

The spokesperson said that the settlement reached is intended at resolving the dispute over banking restrictions enforced by the bank on its client's deposits. Although these restrictions are not decreed in an official capital control law, they are mainly aimed at foreign currency accounts, in line with the restrictions imposed on the entire sector since the beginning of Lebanon's economic crisis in 2019.

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What do you risk when you hold up a bank to claim your own money?

Soubra's bank holdup, which was aimed at recovering his own money, was one of seven that took place during 72 hours last week, all of which were carried out by depositors challenging the banking restrictions.

Soubra, who was arrested following the holdup, was released this week on a LL5 million bail. As a response to the series of holdups, the Association of Banks in Lebanon decided that day to call on banks to close for three days. On Wednesday, the association announced that banks will instead remain closed indefinitely, considering that the state had not mobilized enough resources to ensure the safety of bank employees.

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Who are the ‘depositors’ associations speaking out amid Lebanon’s financial crisis?

Blom Bank's CEO Saad Azhari told local media that the return to a calmer climate would require the adoption of a capital control law. A draft law is currently in the hands of joint parliamentary committees, although they had suspended its examination pending receipt of the government's recovery plan, which was updated on Sept. 9 and sent to caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati. However, the bill is considered by experts to be, at best, improvable, and, at worst, favorable to the banks.


BEIRUT — Blom Bank reached an agreement on Friday with depositor Abed Soubra, who was behind the holdup of a Blom Bank branch in the Tariq al-Jadideh neighborhood, Beirut, last Friday, Blom Bank's spokesperson confirmed to L'Orient-Le Jour, without disclosing the sum of money given to Soubra or indicating whether the sum agreed upon by both parties will be paid in cash.The spokesperson said...