An 87-year-old depositor who held a long sit-in at a Bank Audi in the Selim Salam neighborhood in Beirut on Tuesday to claim her own funds left around 7:30 pm after collecting approximately $5,500 in cash, her son-in-law, Ashraf el-Abbadi, reported to L'Orient-Le Jour.
The woman, Edro Khodr, was accompanied by her son, Hussein Saado, and claimed a portion of her savings — which amounted to $20,000 — in order to cover medical expenses. Part of the bank had been evacuated while negotiations were underway.
According to one of Khodr's family members, the bank offered $3,200 in cash, as well as another $3,200 at the Sayrafa platform rate of LL30,300 to the dollar, which Khodr's son had initially refused.
Finally, the son-in-law of the depositor told L'Orient-Le Jour that at 7:30 pm, she and her son left the bank after agreeing to collect $5,500 in cash.
'Begging for her own money'
Edro Khodr, who was transported to another floor of the branch, away from journalists, arrived at the bank at 11:00 a.m., having thought to bring her blood pressure, diabetes and anti-coagulant medication.
In front of the bank, her daughter-in-law confided to L'Orient-Le Jour that she regretted Khodr could not withdraw her full $20,000.
"When you see a sick person, you feel sorry for them, you don't force them to beg for their own money," she complained. "If we were armed, the bank would have given us the money right away."
A member of the Cry of Depositors group, Rami Ghandour, was present at the scene as a sign of solidarity.
Bank hold-ups and sit-ins in branches by customers demanding their own funds have become commonplace amid Lebanon's economic crisis. On Nov. 23, there were three attempts by depositors to retrieve their frozen savings. Only one of the three depositors was able to recover any funds— $ 15,000.
Additional reporting contributed by Claude Assaf