Withdrawal of Proposed Rulemaking Against Lebanese Canadian Bank SAL

September 29, 2015

On September 28, 2015, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) withdrew its February 17, 2011 proposed rule to impose special measures under Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act against Lebanese Canadian Bank SAL (LCB)—once considered among the top 10 banks in Lebanon in assets, but now liquidated by its shareholders after its banking license was revoked.
Section 311 authorizes the imposition of “special measures” against a foreign jurisdiction, financial institution, class of international transaction or type of account found to be of primary money laundering concern. In this case, FinCEN had found that LCB facilitated money laundering by a network of drug traffickers who allegedly moved as much as $200 million per month through multiple channels, including LCB. FinCEN had proposed imposing the “fifth special measure” on LCB, which would have prohibited banks and other covered financial institutions from establishing, maintaining, administering or managing correspondent accounts in the United States for or on behalf of LCB (including all branches, offices and subsidiaries of LCB operating in any jurisdiction). However, on September 20, 2011, the Lebanese central bank and monetary authority, Banque du Liban (BDL), revoked the banking license of LCB and delisted LCB from the registry of banks published by BDL. Subsequently, LCB’s former shareholders sold LCB’s assets and liabilities to another financial institution. Because LCB no longer exists as a foreign financial institution, FinCEN has withdrawn the proposed rule imposing special measures.