BEIRUT — Public Prosecutor at the Court of Appeal of Beirut Ziad Abou Haidar stepped aside Monday from an investigation into the company Forry Associates Ltd, in which the governor of the Banque du Liban Riad Salameh and his younger brother Raja are being prosecuted, a senior judicial source confirmed to L'Orient-Le Jour.
Here’s what we know:
• According to a report published in Le Commerce du Levant, in April last year, Raja Salameh is the economic beneficiary of Forry Associates, a company registered in the British Virgin Islands, and linked to Lebanon’s central bank by a brokerage contract.
• According to a letter sent by the Swiss attorney general to Lebanese officials and which was seen by Reuters in February, the Salameh brothers illegally took, sometime between 2002 and 2015, more than $300 million in commissions off the sale of financial securities of the BDL, benefitting off public funds.
• Last Thursday, the public prosecutor at the Court of Cassation, Ghassan Oueidat, initiated a public action against the Salameh brothers and several other people for embezzlement, falsification, money laundering, illicit enrichment and tax evasion.
• This action came after Riad and Raja Salameh presented an action for state liability on Tuesday for gross negligence by Oueidat.
• At the beginning of June, Riad and Raja Salameh proposed a similar appeal, against the attorney general of Beirut at the Court of Cassation, Jean Tannous, who is in charge of the investigation into Forry.
• Tannous referred the file to Abou Haidar who withdrew from it on Monday morning.
• The judicial source could not confirm the reasons for the judge’s decision to step aside.