The country’s banks have blocked most depositors from their savings, since an economic crisis set in three years ago
A man with a gun (which turned out to be a toy) was arrested after he robbed a Lebanese bank on Friday to retrieve his savings frozen in the banking system, a security source said, in what was at least the third such incident this week. .
Lebanese banks have blocked most depositors from their savings since an economic crisis set in three years ago, leaving much of the population unable to pay basic expenses.
Capital controls were never formalized in law, but courts have been slow to rule on depositors’ attempts to access savings through litigation against banks, leading some to seek other ways to get their money.
The man was able to recover some of his funds from the Byblos bank in the southern town of Ghazieh on Friday before being arrested, the source said, adding that the gun in his possession was believed to be a toy.
Byblos Bank could not immediately be reached for comment.
Friday’s incident followed two others in the capital Beirut and the town of Aley on Wednesday in which depositors were able to forcibly access part of their funds, using toy guns believed to be real weapons.
On Thursday, the Association of Banks in Lebanon (ABL) urged authorities to hold accountable those who engage in “verbal and physical attacks” on banks, and said lenders themselves would not be lenient.
Last month, a man was arrested after he robbed a Beirut bank to withdraw funds to treat his ailing father, but was released without charge after the bank dropped charges against him.
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