Founded: 1956
Total Assets*: US$7.21 billion
Customer Deposits*: US$4.97 billion
Ranking by Assets*: 10

(*as of Dec 31, 2021, ABL Almanac 2022, converted at LL1507.5/US$) 


Bank of Beirut and Arab Countries (BBAC) was established by three Lebanese investment magnets – Toufic Assaf, Nashaat Skheikhelard, and Jamal Shehaiber – in 1956. Assaf remained Chairman and General Manager until 1996 when, following his death, his son, Ghassan Assaf, took over the position.[1]

Political Exposure

BBAC’s Board of Directors is constituted of seven individuals with its Vice Chairman, Judge Abbas Al Halabi, being a direct PEP. Halabi is currently serving as the Caretaker Minister of Education and Higher Education in the Cabinet of Najib Mikati. He was nominated for this cabinet position by Walid Jumblatt, head of the Progressive Socialist Party.[2] Halabi previously served as the acting minister of information from 2021 to 2022.

The Assaf family, including the Chairman and General Manager Ghassan Assaf, and Marwan Assaf, are PEPs through their connection to Halabi who is married to their sister, Randa Assaf Al Halabi.

The Assaf Holding Company SAL, as the largest single shareholder in BBAC, also has a seat on the board.

A BBAC Board Member who is also a notable PEP is Farouk Mahfouz. Mahfouz was a member of the Banking Control Commission for 20 years, and also a member of the Audit Committee, both of which are cabinet appointments. He later served as a representative of the National Deposit Guarantee Institution (NDGI), an entity tasked with protecting small depositors in Lebanese commercial banks, where he served for 21 years.

Board member Amine Rizk is the son of the Kataeb Party politician, Edmond Rizk. Edmond served as a member of Parliament, and later as minister of education and minister of justice.[3]

BBAC directors were among those to be interviewed this year by a European delegation investigating central bank Governor Riad Salameh for money laundering and financial crimes.[4]


Determining ultimate beneficial owners (UBOs) of BBAC is particularly complex, in part because it includes a 37.21% stake belonging to Fransabank, Lebanon’s fifth largest bank, which is also a subject of this report.[5] Among the UBOs of Fransabank is the notable PEP Adnan Kassar. Kassar was a former minister of economy and trade in the government of Prime Minister Omar Karami. He later served as a minister of state in the cabinet of Saad Hariri from 2009 to 2011.[6]

The largest shareholder in BBAC, with a controlling stake of 55.15%, is the Assaf Family.[7] UBOs of this Holding Company include BBAC Chairman and General Manager Ghassan Assaf, Walid Assaf, Marwan Assaf, and Randa Assaf Al Halabi.[8]


[1] ‘Our Story’, BBAC Bank, accessed 11 March 2023,

[2] ‘Who is in the new Lebanese Cabinet’ The National News, (Online: 10 September 2021), online at:

[3] ‘Mr Edmond Rizk’, Lebanon Dialogue Initiative, accessed 14 March 2023,

[4] ‘European investigative team in Lebanon starts probe into Riad Salameh’ Al-Monitor (Online: 17 January 2023), online at:

[5] Association des Banques du Liban, ‘Almanac of Banks in Lebanon 2022’.

[6] ‘Biography’, Adnan Kassar, accessed 14 March 2023,

[7] Association des Banques du Liban, ‘Almanac of Banks in Lebanon 2022’.

[8] Ministry of Justice, ‘Commercial Registry of Lebanon’, accessed 9 March 2023,


All content provided in this report (the Report) is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or any other professional advice. The Alternative has made every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information provided in the Report. However, due to the opacity of available sources of information, The Alternative has relied on the most up to date and self-reported figures from the Association of Banks in Lebanon (ABL) and its member banks, when available. When ABL and banks data was not available, The Alternative relied on physical copies of Lebanon’s commercial registry, online databases and other credible sources. In addition, The Alternative contacted each of the bank’s communications departments for confirmation of data regarding the shareholding and management of said banks. Only Bank Audi and BLOM Bank provided relevant information, both of which have been included in their entirety. Amongst others, the sources of the Report include various commercial registries, official bank websites, online aggregators, databases dedicated to company registration, the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), Bilanbanques reports, and many others.   

The information provided in the Report is done “as is” without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Alternative shall not be held liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The Alternative does not accept any responsibility or liability for the accuracy, content, completeness, legality, or reliability of the information contained in the Report. Furthermore, The Alternative shall not be liable for any losses or damages from the display or use of this information. If anyone has information relating to the Report, The Alternative welcomes it. All information sent to The Alternative will undergo a thorough validation process, and the report will be updated accordingly. For any relevant information or inquiries, please contact [email protected]


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