A year-long investigation into accusations of corruption by Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh took an important step forward yesterday, Thursday, when Public Prosecutor Ghassan Oueidat referred the case to the Appeal Public Prosecution Office in Beirut, requesting the prosecution of Salameh, his brother, Raja, Marian Hoayek, and all those who appear in the investigation on charges of embezzlement. money laundering, illegal enrichment, fraud and tax evasion.
Riad Salameh preceded the referral decision and the prosecution’s request, with a lawsuit he submitted before the General Assembly of the Court of Cassation, to sue the Lebanese state for what he called the “grave mistake” made by Judge Oweidat in the course of the preliminary investigation, which harmed him, and the case raised fears that the investigation would be halted indefinitely. However, the latter did not know the content of this lawsuit, which required removing his hand from the file, and referred the case to the competent judicial authority for consideration.
For his part, Judge Ziyad Abu Haidar today has two options: either he releases the request paper and refers it to the first investigative judge, Charbel Abu Samra, to start the investigation, or to the Financial Prosecutor, Ali Ibrahim, depending on the jurisdiction, throwing the prosecution’s ball into her court. Will the Financial Public Prosecutor move and claim in file?
And because we in Lebanon are a country of patronage, only a few senior Lebanese officials have been condemned despite the corruption that has been rampant for decades, so will the country witness the miracles of accountability “on the rosary will be repeated and the rope will become a calamity”?