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Banks told to cut ties with Syrian counterparts

| Friday, March 10, 2006

Acting to crack down on terrorist financing, the Treasury Department on Thursday ordered all commercial banks in the United States to end their relationships with two Syrian banks.

The order covers the state-owned Commercial Bank of Syria and its subsidiary, the Syrian Lebanese Commercial Bank.

The department said that all U.S. banks must close any accounts they have with the two banks.

"Today's action is aimed at protecting our financial system against abuse by this arm of a state-sponsor of terrorism," said Stuart Levy, Treasury's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

"The Commercial Bank of Syria has been used by terrorists to move their money, and it continues to afford direct opportunities for the Syrian government to facilitate international terrorist activity and money laundering," Levy said.

The order makes final a preliminary order against the two banks that Treasury issued last May.

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