Lebanese Bank Sued by Alleged Syria Fuel Broker’s Son

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The son of a Lebanese businessman sanctioned by the US for facilitating fuel imports to Syria has taken Société Générale de Banque au Liban (SGBL) to court to access his 20 million USD account, according to a local newspaper.

While Al-Akhbar did not disclose the identity of the plaintiff, Levant Networks determined that he is the son of Fadi Nasser, the chairman of Nasco Polymers & Chemicals Co SAL Offshore, from clues provided in the Lebanese daily’s article.

Al-Akhbar reported December 12 that the unnamed depositor, a Lebanese-Bulgarian dual national, first filed suit in October against Société Générale de Banque au Liban (SGBL) in Lebanon after the financial institution froze his account due to sanctions-risk concerns.

After a mass protest movement erupted October 17 in Lebanon, followed by the closure of banks in the country for over a week, the depositor turned to French courts, the newspaper said.

On November 29, a Paris court issued a preliminary freeze of over 18 million Euro of SGBL’s assets in its subsidiary Compagnie Financière Richelieu as a precautionary measure as the lawsuit is resolved, according to Al-Akhbar.

The Lebanese newspaper reported that the plaintiff was the son of a Lebanese businessman sanctioned by the US in September 2018 for “oil trade with Syria.”

A review of US sanctions actions show that Fadi Nabih Nasser was the only Lebanese businessman sanctioned that month by the Treasury Department. Furthermore, an archive of Nasser’s Nasco Polymers website shows that the company has operated in Bulgaria, where the plaintiff holds citizenship. 

Washington alleged that Nasser “has arranged delivery of thousands of tons of fuel to Syrian ports and has received millions of dollars for facilitating such shipments,” which also matches the snippet of information on his sanctioning provided in the Al-Akhbar report.

Al-Akhbar also provided another clue on the plaintiff’s identity, saying that he “owns a corporation in Beirut.” Lebanon’s online corporate register shows that Fadi Nasser co-owns two Beirut-based companies with his son Fadi.

Fadi Nasser also holds shares in another firm that his father chairs, Jawa Trading SAL Offshore, which was discussed in a Levant Networks report on a recent asset freeze of a portion of Syrian business magnate Rami Makhlouf’s assets.

Beyond these firms, Fadi Nasser also has shares in three real estate holding vehicles in Lebanon, according to the country’s online corporate register. 

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