World News – CA – US sanctions Lebanese political leader Gebran Bassil for alleged corruption


The US Treasury on Friday announced sanctions against former Lebanese Energy and Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, claiming he was behind billion-dollar corruption that left the economy of the country in ruins

« The systemic corruption of the Lebanese political system, illustrated by Bassil, has helped to erode the foundations of an effective government in the service of the Lebanese people, » Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement

« This designation further demonstrates that the United States supports the Lebanese people in their continued calls for reform and accountability »

Bassil, the son-in-law of Lebanese President Michel Aoun and leader of the predominantly Christian Free Patriotic Movement party, is a senior politician involved in attempts to form a new government

But the announcement of US sanctions cited the current electricity and garbage crisis in the country as the result of deep corruption in the government and said Bassil was « at the forefront « corruption in the country

« In 2017, Bassil strengthened his political base by appointing friends to posts and buying other forms of influence within Lebanese political circles, » Treasury said

« In 2014, while he was Minister of Energy, Bassil was involved in the approval of several projects that would have allowed Lebanese government funds to be channeled to people close to him through a group of shell companies « 

« Bassil has repeatedly used his influence to curb government formation efforts, most recently in the current process, which has further delayed any chance for Lebanon to pursue meaningful economic reform, » said one senior government official

« With today’s action, we encourage Lebanon to form a government that excludes politicians known to have engaged in corruption and to pursue meaningful economic reform »

However, the official insisted that Friday’s action had « nothing to do » with the US elections or attempts to form a government in Lebanon

Another US official also said Bassil’s party was « closely aligned » with Hezbollah, the Lebanese political and military movement that Washington has called « terrorist » and has sought to isolate with lawsuits and sanctions

Friday’s sanctions announcement aims to freeze Bassil’s assets under US jurisdiction and prevent him from accessing the global financial system

Gebran Bassil, Lebanon, Hezbollah, Free Patriotic Movement, American sanctions, Donald Trump, Michel Aoun

News from around the world – CA – The United States sanction senior Lebanese politician Gebran Bassil for alleged corruption


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