Lebanon, Iraq Uncover Scam Network Targeting Lebanese Banks

(Bloomberg) -- Lebanese and Iraqi security services have uncovered an Iraqi network that spread false information about Lebanese banks in order to extort them, and several of its members have been arrested, Lebanon’s official National News Agency said Tuesday.

The agency cited an Iraqi statement issued by the national intelligence service on Monday. The network’s members claimed to have millions of dollars in assets in the banks, but the supporting documents were forged, the statement said. The intelligence service said the network attempted to defraud Bank Audi SAL, but didn’t say whether any money was extorted.

The bank issued a warning about the scam in a July 17 statement, saying it had been the subject of “fabricated, cheap and untruthful rumors on certain social media platforms, all of which are completely inaccurate and totally fallacious.”

Bank Audi is one of several Lebanese banks operating in Iraq and other cities in the region. Lebanon’s banking sector has remained stable amid political upheavals, an influx of 1.5 million refugees who have strained the country’s resources and slow economic growth.

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