For the past two years, Lebanese banks have persisted in denying depositors rightful access to their deposits. They continue to violate the constitution, national and international laws as well as a judicial decision issued by the State Consultative Council on May 31, 2021 that aimed to halt the scam of paying deposits in a currency other than the original currency. This is all happening under the mantle of a blatant conspiracy concocted by the banks, the Central Bank of Lebanon and successive governments. It is an undenying proof that the depositors’ cause is fundamentally a combat against a corrupt ruling cabal and its extended political, financial and judicial lackeys.
It is clear that no political decision maker has come to the plate to aid the cause but has on the contrary abstained from any initiative that might protect depositors and their rights in the face of the continual violations of the law and judicial decrees. Consequently, it has become imperative for depositors to raise the level of confrontation by every means at their disposal both at a national and international level. That is why it is essential that depositors close rank within a legal and democratic framework that guides the management, planning and strategy of the campaign.
If we do not claim our rights and hold the guilty accountable but prefer to drown in a marasm of subjugation by surrendering to the regime then we are really siding with the enemy. A proverb states
“if you are neutral in situations of injustice, then you have sided with the oppressor.” A divided depositor corp will not be able to confront this
regime – a regime which has defiled the judicial system and usurped the rule of law and lawful institutions. It is therefore fundamental that we work to unify the thousands of depositors into a coherent and solid entity.
In November 2019, the Depositors’ Union was founded as a Lebanese-nongovernmental and non – profit organization to defend the depositors’ cause by all legal means at home and abroad. Since this beginning, the Union has concentrated its efforts on essentially two roles. The first role deals with the analysis and follow up of all documents, measures, procedures and plans produced by the banks and the financial and monetary authorities. The second role is more action – oriented. By this, we mean spreading awareness and initiating lawsuits while cooperating with international organizations to prosecute the corrupters and recuperate the people’s money.
Since its founding, the Depositors Union has been very proactive and has led the way in refuting the malicious clauses of the numerous circulars issued by the Central Bank and the financial and monetary authorities. It has exposed all the disinformation in compliance contracts which the banks repeatedly employ to blackmail depositors. From its beginning, the Union has launched over three hundred legal and judicial actions against various banking violations and coordinates etroitly with the various elements handling international investigations in Switzerland, France and other jurisdictions. The Union has also succeeded in lobbying international organisations such as the World Bank to validate public corruption crimes while ensuring that perpetrators are punished and stolen funds are recovered.
Depositors Union has recently begun to up the confrontation levels so as to reach international platforms and courts. The Union aspires to present an opportunity and a legal framework for every depositor who wishes to participate in this confrontation so that they may recuperate their deposits and hold accountable those responsible for violating their rights.
The current recovery plan proposed by Lebanon’s banking and political oligarchy shifts the system’s heavy losses and burdens depositors with the major share of these losses. This is in complete disregard of the scandalous and record profits made by Lebanese banks over previous decades and which were facilitated by the monetary policy of successive governments while totally violating the interests of the lebanese people and depositors.
Organizing the depositors into a legal entity such as the Depositors Union is a solid base for fighting the cause at a national and international level. At the same time, it ensures sound legal representation and effective participatory action. The involvement and engagement of thousands of depositors in the Union will impose on the Lebanese state, international organizations and relevant governments an effective leverage on decision – making related to depositors that deals with policies, procedures and projects, planned or implemented. By this means, we can prevent further degradation and additional losses being dumped on depositors while the banking and political system remains shielded from bearing its fair share of the financial burden.
Based on this common vision and to consolidate the principle of participation and good representation, the depositors’ Union opens up its membership to all small and medium depositors who meet its conditions according to the bylaws. This engagement will enable them to participate in the first elections that will be held to choose their representatives. The elected representatives will lead the battle against the banking cabal and achieve victory with the return of all stolen deposits.