Since 1975
  • facebook
  • twitter

Man recovers $15,000 of savings in bank holdup in Lebanon amid limits on withdrawals

Edgar Awad in a branch of Al-Mawarid Bank in Antelias, Lebanon. (Screengrab)
Edgar Awad in a branch of Al-Mawarid Bank in Antelias, Lebanon. (Screengrab)
Short Url:
17 Jul 2023 08:07:10 GMT9
17 Jul 2023 08:07:10 GMT9
  • Depositor threatened to set fire to four gasoline canisters in bank
  • Woman storms supermarket in Beirut suburb

Najia Houssari

BEIRUT: A depositor broke into a bank in Lebanon on Monday and threatened to set fire to four gasoline canisters he was carrying unless his financial deposit was returned immediately.

Depositor Edgar Awad and his 13-year-old son entered the Al-Mawarid Bank branch in Antelias, 5 km north of Beirut, and threw the canisters on the floor of the bank while shouting for the return of a deposit worth about $15,000.

Employees screamed as he threatened to ignite the canisters if his demand was not met.

The bank’s management immediately opened the safe for Awad, who took everything inside before leaving the bank.

People in Lebanon followed the details of the raid through social media.

Alaa Khorshid, head of the Depositors’ Association, told Arab News: “When Awad calculated the amount, it became clear to him that he had taken more than $50,000 … so he turned himself in to the nearest police station and handed them the rest of the amount, and kept $14,800 — the value of his deposit withheld in the bank.”

Khorshid added that the man “has the right to recover his deposit, as he needs it, and there was a dispute inside the police station between us and the bank’s legal agent, but things ended with Awad leaving the police station without being arrested.”

Awad’s mother arrived at the police station and demanded the release of her son, claiming that he “took what belonged to him and did not steal.”

Depositor Omar Al-Awar entered the Banque Misr Liban branch in Beirut a week ago and threatened to retrieve his deposit worth $6,500.

He managed to take it without being arrested by the security forces.

The Central Bank of Lebanon decided to seize foreign currency bank deposits and prevent transfers in 2019 due to protests and the country’s economic collapse. The measure is still in force.

The bank did allow depositors to withdraw $400 per month at an exchange rate of 15,000 Lebanese pounds, and $400 in fresh dollars. This measure had allowed banks to get rid of their small deposits over the past two years.

The Central Bank decided two weeks ago to stop giving the amount in Lebanese pounds and instead give depositors $400 per month from their held deposit.

The exchange rate of the dollar on Saturday suddenly rose by about 10,000 Lebanese pounds, reaching a rate of 100,000 pounds in less than an hour due to fears surrounding the currency.

It quickly dropped back to around 93,000 pounds but remained volatile on Sunday and Monday.

Meanwhile, a 40-year-old woman broke into a supermarket in a suburb of Beirut on Monday and committed a robbery after brandishing what appeared to be a gun.

The Lebanese national — identified only as G.Y. — was previously imprisoned for eight years on charges of drug trafficking, drug use, prostitution, and theft.

The store forms part of a gas station in the neighborhood of Zouk Mosbeh, Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces said.

A security source told Arab News: “Women usually assist in theft operations, and sometimes we arrest women for shoplifting, but this is the first time that a woman has carried out such an act from A to Z alone: breaking in, brandishing a gun, and leaving.”

Investigating authorities later verified her identity and place of residence.

A source later said the gun she had in her possession was made of plastic, although activists on social media dubbed her “the savage lady.”

Most Popular

return to top