Lebanon’s Bassil says does not fear sanctions – Twitter post

Beirut (Reuters) – Prominent Lebanese Christian politician Gebran Bassil, the son-in-law of Lebanon’s president, said that sanctions imposed by the United States against him on Friday did not scare him.

The U.S. Treasury Department said it blacklisted Bassil, leader of Lebanon’s largest Christian bloc, the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), for his role in corruption.

“Sanctions have not scared me nor promises tempted me,” Bassil said in a Twitter post following the announcement. “I do not turn against any Lebanese … and I do not save myself to let Lebanon perish.”

The FPM has a political alliance with Lebanon’s Iranian-backed Shi’ite movement Hezbollah, which the United States has designated as a terrorist group and sanctioned several of its members.

Bassil has defended the heavily armed group as vital to the defence of Lebanon. Hezbollah has risen to become the overarching power in Lebanon, which is now grappling with a financial meltdown rooted in endemic corruption, waste and mismanagement.

In September, the United States blacklisted two former Lebanese government ministers it accused of directing political and economic favors to Hezbollah.

It accused a former transport minister, Yusuf Finyanus, and a former finance minister, Ali Hassan Khalil, of engaging in corruption and leveraging their political power for financial gain.