Legal battle against Lebanon's central bank governor faces jurisdictional dispute and Parisian hearing

Lebanon Economy
2023-04-06 | 11:35
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Legal battle against Lebanon's central bank governor faces jurisdictional dispute and Parisian hearing
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3min
Legal battle against Lebanon's central bank governor faces jurisdictional dispute and Parisian hearing

In Lebanon, no political intervention is necessary to slow down any legal process. Implementing the law alone is sufficient to waste time.

On Thursday, the first investigating judge in the interim, Charbel Abu Samra, was supposed to hear from Lebanon's central bank governor, Riad Salameh. However, Salameh did not show up, and instead, his lawyer attended to inquire about a memorandum previously submitted in which he objected to the lawsuit department in the Ministry of Justice's involvement in Salameh's file by claiming that it was acting on behalf of the Lebanese state.

Salameh believes that the lawsuit department in the Ministry of Justice has no authority to prosecute him since it did not obtain permission from the relevant minister, the finance minister, relying on an opinion from the Committee of Legislation and Consultations.

However, the lawsuit department in the Ministry of Justice responded with a memorandum stating the obligation to defend the interests of the Lebanese state and explaining the reasons why it is exempt from obtaining permission. Meanwhile, sources from the Ministry of Finance confirmed that it had been informed by the lawsuit department a week earlier, and that the need for the lawsuit department in the Ministry of Justice to obtain permission is a matter that will be decided by the judiciary.

The Thursday session was postponed because Abu Samra sent the entire file to the Attorney General of Appeal in Beirut, Raja Hamoush, to express an opinion and return it to him to make the final decision. Abu Samra scheduled a session for Salameh on May 18.

However, the dispute between Salameh and the lawsuit department in the Ministry of Justice may take days, if not weeks, to resolve, especially if Salameh or the lawsuit department decides to appeal Abu Samra's decision, which could lead to a new postponement of the May 18 session.

Before May 18, the French judiciary scheduled a hearing for Salameh on May 16 in Paris. An injunction was sent on this matter to the Lebanese judiciary.

It is worth noting that Judge Ghada Aoun previously imposed a travel ban on Salameh. However, concerned judicial sources indicate that she will send a letter in the coming days to the investigating judge to request the lifting of the travel ban. The question remains: How will Salameh be notified of the Parisian session in accordance with the law and by whom? And will all of this back-and-forth result in a delay in resolving the case?

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Salameh

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