Bank Leumi (TASE:LUMI) has informed the United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinian refugees that it has blocked its bank account, after it was revealed that 12 of its employees took part in the massacres by Hamas on October 7. Following the revelations the US, Germany, EU, UK and other countries halting their funding for UNRWA.
Bank Leumi said that it had identified unusual activity that has generated alerts in the compliance mechanisms of the bank's risk management systems. Bank Leumi wrote to UNRWA explaining that recently, many money transfers have been identified in the account, in a way that does not allow the bank to trace their source and final destination. Leumi said it had demanded explanations from UNRWA representatives, but they had been unable to provide satisfactory explanations. Since such explanations have not been received, the Israeli bank said it had become seriously concerned that the money from UNRWA's account was reaching terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip.
UNRWA's annual budget currently stands at $1.2 billion, which comes mainly from donations. As of this moment, regardless of Leumi's decision, about 75% of UNRWA's budgets have been suspended, following the decisions of donor countries that have already announced the halting of funding.
Bank Leumi declined to comment further.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on February 4, 2024.
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