When Gebran Bassil’s name arose in Batroun after he failed twice in the parliamentary elections, he decided to take revenge from the people who didn’t vote for him. He drew up a real estate map to acquire classified lands with stunning overview, as well as heritage buildings in the old souk and on Batroun’s seaside, as the latter brings huge revenues due to its touristic location.
Bassil’s suspected behavior and practices are not limited to the Ministry of Energy and Power, were billions of dollars have been squandered within this ministry. The power ships case and the bribes have been referred to the judiciary.
All the transgressions and deals that took place in Batroun were due to the fact that Bassil is the President’s son-in-law. In addition to that, Basil has a large network of mayors and mokhtar [s] who negotiate and finalize deals for his sake inside Batroun. They also inform Bassil’s lawyers about any deal happening, in order to find a way to disrupt any sale or purchase by putting pressure on the seller, buyer, or the investor who wants to invest in the lands that Bassil is seeking to buy.
Basil’s real estate deals are not bought by him personally, as he is too smart to do so. But he rather has a brother-in-law, who purchases all the real estates that he is in interest of. His brother in law manages Bassil’s real estate business, and handles all real estate transactions.
Bassil’s brother-in-law Francois Barakat buys old heritage buildings and turns them into hotels and restaurants. These buildings are inhabited, but when one of the residents refuse to leave his house, problems arise, and lawyers put pressure on them. There are many buildings that are now owned by Bassil through his brother-in-law.
For instance, Batroun’s municipality refused to give a restoration license for Al-Mandaloun Restaurant, which is located on the waterfront in the Al-Bahsa area in Batroun, the place where the clash occurred between Bassil and Nisreen Al-Masri a week ago. What is noteworthy that when the restaurant became owned by Bassil’s brother in law the municipality gave them a restoration license.
From where did Bassil brought all this? And from where did he get this financial empire? People have the right to hold Bassil accountable and ask him how did he own all these properties, although he have been calling for lifting banking secrecy, since years ago.