The Association of Banks in Lebanon, the professional trade group that coordinates standards, procedures and technology, has hired DLA Piper to handle Washington developments as the U.S. steps up oversight of the Lebanese banking sector.

In August, the U.S. seized $150M from a Lebanese bank suspected of playing a big role in money-laundering scheme linked to Hezbollah.

On Sept. 11, Deputy Treasury Secretary Neil Wolin visited Beirut and warned Lebanese banks and government officials to “remain vigilant against the evasions of sanctions by Iran and Syria,” according to a statement from the U.S. embassy.

Beirut’s Daily Star newspaper reported Sept. 15 that the U.S. is “increasing its pressure on Lebanese banks to clean their balance sheets, improve supervision of all transactions and accounts, block any attempt to fund suspected terrorist organizations, and fully abide by strict international measures to combat money laundering.”

DLA Piper’s team includes John Merrigan, co-chair of DLA’s federal law and policy group, and Jim Pickup, who served as an aide to George Mitchell (now DLA’s chairman emeritus) when he chaired the committee that explored reasons for violence in the Middle East.