Lebanese banker slammed for buying Jennifer Lawrence's $9.9 million NYC apartment

Lebanese banker slammed for buying Jennifer Lawrence's $9.9 million NYC apartment
Lebanon bank CEO's nearly $10 million penthouse purchase in the US further angers the Lebanese, who have been barred from accessing their deposits for months.
2 min read
09 August, 2020
Depositors with dollar accounts in Lebanon can only withdraw in the local currency [Twitter]
The Lebanese chairman and CEO of Al-Mawarid Bank, Marwan Kheireddine, is facing backlash from protesters in Lebanon and abroad after news reports said the banker purchased a glass-walled penthouse condo in New York.

On Saturday, protesters burned a building allegedly owned by Kheireddine, also a former minister, after claiming the money used to buy the property was "stolen from Lebanese People".

Photos of posters around the block in New York circulated, saying: "Marwan Khaireddine bought a penthouse on this block with the blood, sweat and tears of the Lebanese people."

Lebanese depositors are blocked from making international trasnfers with few exceptions, leading many to believe the money had been smuggled out by the bank owner.

"Marwan Kheireddine, the infamous animal-murdering Lebanese oligarch, has spent $9.9 million to buy a New York penthouse from Jennifer Lawrence, while his bank (AMB) has deprived people of their savings since October 2019," Nizar Hassan, a Beirut-based researcher said via Twitter.

The Daily Mail reported that Kheireddine purchased the apartment from Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence.Lebanon is also grappling its worst economic crisis in decades, while much of the capital has been destroyed in an explosion at the Beirut port that claimed the lives of over 150 people.

Kheireddine was quoted by Al-Arabiya defending the move, claiming it was part of "an investment deal through a family-owned company that invests outside Lebanon" and was financed through an American bank loan. 

Read also: Comment: Beirut Explosion: Be angry, not just sad, for Lebanon

However, documents released by NYU journalism professor, Mohamad Bazzi, showed only $6 million mortgage was taken out as mortgage by John's Mountain LLC–run Kheireddine.

"Presumably, the buyer paid $3.9 million in cash," Bazzi wrote in a tweet.

Further documents posted by Bazzi showed Kheireddine's signature on all related to the apartment sale and its mortgage.

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