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Vagueness of Libyan Sanctions Order Left Banks Scrambling to Comply, Say Officials

By Brian Monroe

A White House executive order issued late Friday in response to violence in Libya called on financial institutions to freeze the assets tied to the North African nation's government, but failed to specify one thing: how were compliance officers to know which accounts to block? That weekend, officials from more than a dozen U.S. and international banks scrambled to agree on a shared "master list" of Libyan commercial and private banking clients whose assets needed to be seized, according to individuals familiar with the matter. By Monday, the banks had frozen $30 billion tied to the government of Libyan leader...

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