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For Syria at UN, No Bank for 7 Months, Controller Projects "Good News"

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 19, updated -- For seven months Syria's Mission to the UN has not had a bank account in the United States.

Its UN delegation complained Thursday that six months ago, it wrote to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon asking him either to help Syria open an account with the UN Federal Credit Union "as others have," or to require the US as host country to make one of its banks open the account.

  UN Controller Maria Eugenia Casar on Thursday told the Syria delegation that "hopefully tomorrow" there would be "good news." She said there was a "very important meeting between the host country and the banks" and that she has been working "closely with the PR."

  It was not immediately clear if she meant Syrian Permanent Representative Bashar Ja'afari or US Ambassador Susan Rice.

  The UN Controller added that she has been "talking with the regulators," which seems strange -- is it the bank regulators, the Federal Reserve and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which have advised US banks not to allow the Syrian mission to open an account?

  If so, why would the federal credit union regulator be any different?

  Or as Syria complained Thursday, has it been the US State Department blocking Syria?

Update of 1pm - Inner City Press asked Controller Maria Eugenia Casar if in fact she had good news. No, she said, at least not yet. She specified that a "big commercial bank" is considering opening the account. JPMorgan Chase? Citibank? Capital One, of the Visigoths? Inner City Press asked if UNFCU can open the account. Only with the regulator's agreement, she said. Watch this site.

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