Beirut: A Lebanese merchant used a bizarre method to coerce a bank into allowing him to cash a cheque worth 16 million Lebanese pound [Dh39,000] after rejecting its withdrawal.
Lebanon and Gulf Bank (LGB) refused to permit merchant Moustafa Bitar to cash a personal cheque over the counter at its branch in Lebanese southern city of Sidon on Saturday.
When Bitar, who owns and manages a cranes and caterpillars company in Sidon, failed to convince LGB’s manager to cash the cheque, he found himself obliged to resort to an unprecedented method to get his money.
“The manager told us they would deposit the cash but we would not be able to withdraw it before three months. We needed the money! What use would it be to keep hold of the money without being able to withdraw it! So we coordinated with our lawyer and the law enforcement officers before we blocked the bank’s entrance with cranes and caterpillars for nearly an hour,” Zakaria Bitar, Moustafa’s brother, told Gulf News on Saturday.
He confirmed the incident, the images of which surfaced on social media.
Zakaria stressed that no trouble or accident happened after they blocked LGB’s entrance and that the branch manager finally allowed them to cash the 16 million Lebanese pounds at the counter.
He further told the newspaper that the bank did not report the incident to Lebanese Internal Security Forces.
It has become a common practice by Lebanese banks to withhold or limit dealing with cheques and only allowing bearers to cash them after 3 months amid the ongoing economic crisis hitting country.
LGB was not available for comment after closure time.
-Bassam Za’za’ is a freelance journalist based in Beirut.