DUBAI/BEIRUT - Dubai-based Al Habtoor Group has issued a notice of investment treaty dispute against Lebanon related to its investments in the country, the family-owned conglomerate said in a statement on Wednesday.

The controversy is related to the group's investments in Lebanon, which amount to around $1 billion and include luxury hotels operated under the Hilton Hotels & Resorts brand, a shopping mall and other real estate properties across the country.

According to Al Habtoor, Lebanon and its central bank breached a treaty with the United Arab Emirates by imposing restrictions that prevented the group from transferring its funds it currently holds in Lebanese banks and amounting to over $44 million.

The group added that "Lebanon has also failed to secure a safe and sound environment for Al Habtoor Group's businesses and investments", which have resulted in "significant losses and damages."

Lebanese authorities did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Al Habtoor said it could start legal proceedings against the Lebanese Republic if the dispute was not resolved within six months.

(Reporting by Federico Maccioni and Maya Gebeily, editing by Tomasz Janowski)