The U.S. Treasury Department is sanctioning two Lebanese businessmen and a member of the country’s parliament who officials say have undermined the rule of law in the nation.
“Jihad al-Arab, Dany Khoury and Jamil Sayyed have each personally profited from the pervasive corruption and cronyism in Lebanon, enriching themselves at the expense of the Lebanese people and state institutions,” the department said in a statement.
Al-Arab and Khoury are businessmen the U.S. says have been given public contracts in return for kickback payments to government officials. Sayyed is a sitting member of Lebanon’s parliament accused of transferring more than $120 million to overseas investments with the help of an unidentified senior government official.
Sayyed rejected the allegations against him as “based on nothing,” saying he can present evidence to disprove them.
“This is not only wrong but an aggression,” he said by phone. “I’m confronting this financial mafia. I’m not part of them.”
Treasury official Andrea Gacki said in a statement that “the Lebanese people deserve an end to the endemic corruption perpetuated by businessmen and politicians who have driven their country into an unprecedented crisis.”
“Now is the time to implement necessary economic reforms and put an end to the corrupt practices eroding Lebanon’s foundations,” she said. “Treasury will not hesitate to use its tools to address impunity in Lebanon.”