On April 20, 2001, the Lebanese Parliament passed Law 318 on fighting money laundering. This law criminalizes the laundering of proceeds of crimes related to narcotics growing, manufacturing and trading, organized crimes, terrorist acts and terrorist financing, illegal arm trade, stealing or embezzling public or private funds or their appropriation by fraudulent means and counterfeiting money or public credit instruments. The said law defines money laundering operations and stipulates fines and imprisonment sanctions imposed on such operations.
Law 318 established the Special Investigation Commission (SIC) for fighting money laundering as an independent legal entity with judicial status at Banque du Liban. The Commission has the exclusive right to lift banking secrecy for use by competent judicial authorities and the Higher Banking Commission. The SIC, Lebanon's Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), receives, analyzes, investigates suspicious transaction reports (STRs) and ensures compliance of banks, financial institutions and other reporting entities with pertinent AML regulations.
The SIC comprise the following members:
The Governor of Banque du Liban,
The President of the Banking Control Commission,
The Judge appointed to the Higher Banking Commission,
A professional appointed by the Council of Ministers,
According to Law 318, the SIC appoints a full-time Secretary to implement the decisions of the Commission. The Secretary is responsible for day-to-day operations and supervises the:
Audit & Investigation Unit
Financial Investigation Administrative Unit
IT & Security Unit
Within the scope of their duties under the provisions of Law 318, the Chairman, Members, Secretary and Commission Staff shall enjoy immunity. In consequence, they could not be prosecuted or sued, neither collectively nor individually, for any civil or criminal liability related to the discharging of their duties, including offences specified by the banking secrecy Law of September 3, 1956, when any of them discloses banking secrecy. In discharging their duties under the provisions of Law 318, or according to the decisions of the Commission, the banks operating in Lebanon and their staff shall enjoy the same immunity.