Levick Strategic Communications is providing Washington counsel to the Association of Banks in Lebanon, a 54-year-old trade group of financial institutions in the country where U.S. officials have targeted banks for money laundering and ties to Hezbollah.
Levick picked up $270K representing the client on banking issues to senators and congressmen during the first quarter of 2013, according to this week's filing. "Entity is an association of Lebanese banks that may be affected by U.S. banking policies and laws," the firm's senate filing says.
The U.S. Treasury Dept. last week locked up a $102M settlement from Lebanese Canadian Bank, which Treasury last year designated a money-laundering concern tied to Hezbollah. France's Societe Generale, which bought the bank last year and placed it in liquidation, stands to reap $48M in the settlement deal, according to Reuters.
U.S. government prosecutors, who initially sought $230M in the suit, said the Lebanese bank laundered profits from the U.S. sale of cars sent to West Africa, as well as from drug trafficking.
In April, Treasury designated two Lebanese financial exchange houses as money laundering concerns and hitting the institutions with sanctions. Treasury said the exchanges were tapped by a Mideast narcotics network to fill the void left by its action against LCB.
U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly met with the Association of Banks in Lebanon in May, commending the group's board for steps taken to "protect Lebanon's financial sector from illicit activity," according to a State Dept. press release.
Lebanon's Daily Star reported June 25 that profits from Lebanese banks operating in Syria fell 98.2% in the first quarter from $49.8M in Q1 2012 to $640K in 2013.