Lebanon: justice poor facing untouchable bank secret

The Assistant Attorney at the Court of Cassation, which investigates the boss of the Bank of Lebanon, Riad Salamé, was interrupted in full search.


In Lebanon, a country in full economic debacle, where the currency lost more than 90% of its value, the “party of the banks” does not go back to anything to preserve its secrets. And the coarse tactics are used to prevent justice from putting his nose in the business of the Politico-Financial Nomenklatura, responsible for the bankruptcy of the state. The scene, worthy of a bad polar, which took place Tuesday, January 11 in the morning, at one of the largest banks in the country, in Beirut, provides an example.

Jean Tannous, Assistant Attorney at the Court of Cassation, who investigates Riad Salamé, the boss of the Bank of Lebanon (BDL), suspected of whitening and diversion of funds, hoped that day to hit a big blow. Six financial institutions had to be simultaneously searched by the judicial police.

This operation was to recover from Raja Salamé account statements, the brother of the Lebanese Grand Argentier, boss of a company named Forry. A procedure carried out in response to a request for help from Helvetic Justice, which suspicates this obscure brokerage company, with an account in Switzerland, for having served as a screen at the siphon of at least 200 million dollars of the BDL.

Hindering justice

During the fall of 2021, Jean Tannous fought against these banks who, in the name of the banking secrecy, untouchable pillar of the modern Lebanon, refused him access to the accounts of Raja Salamé. One of these institutions took the hierarchy of the magistrate to obtain his setting out, on the ground that he would have exceeded his prerogatives. The Court of Cassation rejected this request, allowing Jean Tanouous to leave at the offensive.

But Tuesday, hardly lay one’s foot in one of the six banks, that the Deputy Prosecutor received an appeal from his superior, the Attorney General, ordering him to cancel the searches. The magistrate is then reparty Bredille. According to Lebanese media, the parquet manager intervened at the request of the current Leader of the Government, Najib Mikati, a billionaire shareholder of a Lebanese bank.

Accused of obstacle to justice, the person defended his action on behalf of “the need not to undermine what remains of the country’s economic and financial pillars”. “Even when Israel invaded Beirut, [the soldiers] were not entered into institutions with arms in this way,” he added, with reference to the attack of the country of cedar by the Hebrew State In 1982. Not sure that this parallel was the taste of Lebanese depositors, whose savings are worthless.

/Media reports.