Last updated: 8 September, 2011

Lebanon’s SGBL finalises LCB acquisition

Lebanon’s Societe Generale bank announced Thursday the central bank had approved its plan to acquire the Lebanese Canadian Bank, accused by Washington of money laundering and ties to Hezbollah.

“SGBL obtained on September 7, 2011 the final approval of the central bank of Lebanon for the acquisition of certain assets and liabilities of the Lebanese Canadian Bank (LCB),” SGBL said in a statement.

“Finalisation of the acquisition was subject to a preliminary review process of accounts and transactions implemented by local and international authorities, SGBL and three international audit firms.”

In February, the US Treasury Department accused LCB of laundering hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of a drug lord with alleged links to the powerful Shiite militant party Hezbollah, blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by Washington.

The bank has denied the charges.

Central bank governor Riad Salameh had said the institution complied with anti-laundering laws.

Salameh in March announced SGBL had won a bid to acquire LCB, but would not disclose figures. Banking sources in Lebanon have put it at about half a billion dollars.

Thursday’s acquisition brings SGBL’s total assets to $11 billion, deposits to $8.6 billion and loans to $3 billion.