SGBL

Société Générale de Banque au Liban

Founded: 1953
Total Assets*: US$25.95 billion
Customer Deposits*: US$18.71 billion
Ranking by Assets*: 3

(*as of Dec 31, 2018, ABL Almanac 2022, converted at LL1507.5/US$) 

History

Société Générale de Banque du Liban (SGBL) was founded in 1953 by Antoun Mikhail Sehnaoui, the great-uncle of the current CEO and chairman,[1] as the Banque Belgo-Libanaise in partnership with Banque Belge pour l’Etranger and la Compagnie Belge de Banque et de Gestion in 1953.[2] Antoun Mikhail Sehnaoui would go on to serve as minister for post, telegraph, and telephone in the mid-sixties.[3]

In 1969, the French bank Société Générale bought a 25% stake in the venture and changed the name to Société Générale Libano-Européenne de Banque SAL (SGLEB). By 1991, Societé Générale (France) had accumulated a 50% stake in SGLEB.[4] In 2001, SGLEB rebranded as Société Générale de Banque du Liban (SGBL).[5]

In 2006, the French Société Générale unwound its position in SGBL, and the Sehnaoui Group increased its position to an 81% stake. Despite the French bank dispensing of part of its shares in its Lebanese subsidiary, the two maintained a strategic partnership. Antoun Nabil Sehnaoui was named chairman in 2007 after a redistribution of shares amongst the Sehnouai family.[6]

Shareholders and Board Composition

Today, the bank is owned by Antoun Nabil Sehnaoui (51.765%), Mina BHC Holdings SAL (19.25%), Société Générale SA (16.79%), and NSKINV (12.20%).[7] Antoun and his father Nabil Sehnaoui sit on SGBL’s board. Both are categorised as Indirect2 politically exposed people (PEPs) given their family relationship (cousin and nephew, respectively) to Nicholas Sehnaoui, a member of the Lebanese parliament who served as Minister of Telecommunications from 2011 until 2014. Antoun Sehnaoui has a second seat on the board on behalf of NSKINV Ltd.

In addition, Antoun established News Media in 1998 which publishes the Beirut-based English-language business magazine Executive.

Sehnaoui is active in Christian religious organisations and is a trustee of In Defence of Christians,[8] an international human rights advocacy organisation.[9] L’Orient Today alleged that Sehnaoui bankrolls the Jnud al-Rab (Soldiers of God), a self-avowedly bigoted and extremist Christian group that claims to police and protect the Christian sect in Lebanon. A representative of Sehnaoui denied he is involved with the group.[10]

Pierre Frédéric Kamel also sits on the board of SGBL[11] on behalf of Mina BHC Holdings SAL, which is based in the British Virgin Islands.[12] Pierre Frederic Kamel had his assets frozen by public prosecutor by Ghada Aoun in 2022 due to his relationship with SGBL.[13]

 

[1] ‘Antoun Sehnaoui | Biography’, Antoun Sehnaoui Personal Website, accessed 9 March 2023, http://www.antounsehnaoui.com/biography.html.

[2] SGBL, ‘Notre Histoire’, 27 June 2020, https://web.archive.org/web/20200627222555/http://www.sgbl.com.lb/sgbl_fr/Nousconnaitre/Pages/NotreHistoire.aspx. Note: As of this writing, the SGBL website was nonfunctional.

[3] ‘Antoun Sehnaoui | Biography’.

[4] SGBL, ‘Notre Histoire’.

[5] SGBL.

[6] SGBL.

[7] Association des Banques du Liban.

[8] ‘IDC Board Members’, In Defense of Christians (blog), accessed 6 March 2023, https://indefenseofchristians.org/about-us/idc-board-members/.

[9] ‘IDC Board Members’.

[10] Caroline Hayek, ‘Who Are Ashrafieh’s “Soldiers of God”? – L’Orient Today’, accessed 9 March 2023, https://today.lorientlejour.com/article/1304447/who-are-ashrafiehs-soldiers-of-god.html.

[11] Ministry of Justice, ‘Commercial Registry of Lebanon’, accessed 9 March 2023, http://cr.justice.gov.lb/.

[12] LEI, ‘NSKINV Ltd’, accessed 10 March 2023, https://lei.report/LEI/549300F1PLGQ0DWC5R15.

[13] Lebanese Forces, ‘بالوثيقة: تجميد أصول خمسة مصارف لبنانية’, Lebanese Forces Official Website, 14 March 2022, https://www.lebanese-forces.com/2022/03/14/banks-246/.

Disclaimer

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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