|2019||Embezzlement of Public Funds||
Report (ROA): In 2019, three individuals working for a government agency were detained for embezzling public funds. The suspects were accused of abusing their positions and colluding with one another to embezzle municipal funds. The Lebanese General Prosecutor requested SIC assistance to obtain banking and other information to complement his investigations.
Analysis and Investigation: The SIC contacted the real estate register to enquire about any real estate ownership pertaining to the suspects within the municipality area and elsewhere, and was able to identify several properties owned by them. The SIC also circulated the names of the suspects to all banks, financial institutions and money remittance companies operating in Lebanon and was able to identify bank accounts and transactions. Several bank accounts reflected mainly small cash deposits and withdrawals.
Subsequent Measures: An encumbrance was placed on identified properties and the SIC decided to freeze and lift banking secrecy off bank accounts and forward the findings to the General Prosecutor. Furthermore, money remittance companies were requested not to perform any transactions for the suspects.
Report (STR): The AML/CFT compliance officer at a local bank, while reviewing cash transactions deposited in a customer’s account requested supporting documents from the said customer. The officer was provided with a real estate sales contract, from which he noticed that the deposited amount exceeded the figure mentioned in the sales contract. An STR was consequently filed with the SIC, for possible tax evasion.
Analysis and Investigation: The SIC initiated its investigation by analyzing the customer’s account activity and also circulated the names of both parties involved in the real estate transaction to all banks, financial institutions and money remittance companies operating in Lebanon in an attempt to identify if similar activity existed.
Subsequent Measures: The SIC decided to freeze and lift banking secrecy off related bank accounts and forward the findings to the General Prosecutor, who in turn decided to prosecute on tax evasion charges.
Report (STR): A Lebanese national approached a local bank to open an account. The customer claimed that he owns a small manufacturing business and informed the bank that he will be depositing cash into the account from sales proceeds. The account was opened after CDD measures were carried out. After coming across a news article that posted names of individuals involved in a drug smuggling network arrested for trafficking and smuggling large amounts of drugs, the bank filed an STR with the SIC.
Analysis and Investigation: The SIC initiated its investigation by analyzing the customer’s account statements and also circulated his name to all banks, financial institutions and money remittance companies operating in Lebanon. Findings revealed the existence of two other bank accounts with similar patterns of cash and check deposits, followed by check withdrawals. One money remittance company reported the existence of incoming and outgoing remittances related to the suspect.
Subsequent Measures: The SIC decided to freeze the balances of the identified accounts, placed an encumbrance on all properties owned by the suspect, requested from all money remittance companies not to perform any transaction for the suspect and forwarded the findings to the Lebanese General prosecutor.
Report (STR): A local bank filed a suspicious transaction report with the SIC concerning a customer who instructed the bank to transfer an amount to his supplier in a European country. Following the execution of the transfer, the customer discovered that the e-mail of his supplier had been compromised and that the payment instructions he acted on originated from a hacker and not the supplier.
Subsequent Measures: The SIC forwarded the findings to the General Prosecutor suggesting that the judicial police-cybercrime office also further investigate the matter, and also asked the counterpart FIU for additional information.
Report (ROA): The SIC received a request of assistance from the Lebanese General Prosecutor concerning a suspect who is employed with a government agency. The suspect was charged with abusing his job, embezzlement of public funds, fraud and also for receiving bribes to facilitate sales contracts, fees exemption and tax evasion. Banking information among other things were needed to complement the ongoing investigation, and accordingly the SIC assistance was sought.
Analysis and Investigation: In order to identify transactions and bank accounts, the SIC circulated the name of the suspect to all banks, financial institutions and money remittance companies operating in Lebanon. The SIC also contacted the real estate register for information on the suspect’s real estate ownership. Two bank accounts belonging to the suspect were identified. The analysis performed on the obtained account statements revealed unjustified cash and check deposits followed by check withdrawals. One money remittance company also reported a few incoming and outgoing remittances.
Subsequent Measures: During the investigations, and as a precautionary measure, the SIC decided to freeze the balances of the two identified accounts, placed an encumbrance on all properties owned by the suspect, and requested from all money remittance companies not to perform any transaction for the suspect. The SIC decided to lift banking secrecy off the identified bank accounts and forward the investigation findings to the General Prosecutor for further investigation.