Beirut blasts: Lebanon’s Central Bank freezes assets of heads of Beirut port, customs officials

Lebanon’s Central Bank has ordered the freeze of accounts of heads of Beirut port and several individuals including those of Lebanese customs along with five others, in the wake of the Beirut port warehouse blast, Reuters reports.

The bank through its special investigation commission for money laundering and terrorism fighting Thursday issued the directive to be circulated to all banks and financial institutions in Lebanon, the public prosecutor in the appeals court and the head of the banking authority, Reuters notes.

The directive indicated that the freeze and lifting of banking secrecy would apply to accounts directly or indirectly linked to Beirut Port General Manager Hassan Koraytem, Lebanese Customs Director General Badri Daher and five others, including present and former port and customs officials.

The decision comes after the country top prosecutor ordered an investigation into the blast and a travel ban on the same seven individuals.

The Tuesday explosion according to official account was caused by ammonium nitrate, used in fertilizers and bombs stored in a warehouse in the port.

Koraytem and Badri Wednesday defended themselves after they told media that they wrote several times over the years to the country’s judiciary requesting the removal of highly explosive material.

At least 150 people were killed in the blast which also caused injuries to over 5,000 people.

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