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Despite search warrant, actress close to Riad Salameh freely enters Lebanon

Upon her arrival at Beirut airport, Stephanie Saliba was not arrested by General Security.

Despite search warrant, actress close to Riad Salameh freely enters Lebanon

Lebanese actress Stephanie Saliba. (Credit: Facebook/Stephanie Saliba)

BEIRUT — Known to be close to the Banque Du Liban governor Riad Salameh, Lebanese actress Stephanie Saliba — who is the subject of a search warrant — was not arrested when she landed at Beirut International Airport Wednesday evening.

Saliba is being investigated for theft of public funds and money laundering, which are being investigated by Lebanese and European judiciaries. The search warrant was issued by the Prosecutor General at the Court of Appeals of Mount Lebanon, Ghada Aoun.

Contacted by L'Orient-Le Jour, Judge Aoun confirmed Saliba's arrival in Lebanon.

"She passed through the General Security without being apprehended," said the prosecutor, who stressed, however, that Saliba is "suspected" and "not guilty."

"According to the law, anyone who is the subject of a search warrant must be apprehended," Wadih Akl, a lawyer close to the Free Patriotic Movement — like Judge Aoun — told L'Orient-Le Jour. "According to the law, she must be investigated and then released, if it turns out that she is not charged," he added.

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A Thursday report in the daily al-Akhbar mentioned an intervention by caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati to prevent the arrest of the actress. This was immediately denied by Mikati' press office.

"What the newspaper al-Akhbar wrote about the interference of the caretaker Prime Minister in a case related to Stephanie Saliba is absolutely false," his press office said.

According to a judicial source, when Saliba arrived in Beirut, General Security contacted the financial prosecutor, Ali Ibrahim, rather than the competent authorities, i.e. the Prosecutor General at the Court of Appeals of Mount Lebanon or the Attorney Generals of the prosecution office.

It is worth noting that Ali Ibrahim is the vice president of the special investigation committee at BDL, a body chaired by Riad Salameh.

According to the judicial source, Ibrahim gave instructions to release Saliba, who walked free after spending the night in the airport.

According to the FPM-affiliated channel, OTV, Ghada Aoun will take legal action against anyone who prevented the execution of the search warrant.


BEIRUT — Known to be close to the Banque Du Liban governor Riad Salameh, Lebanese actress Stephanie Saliba — who is the subject of a search warrant — was not arrested when she landed at Beirut International Airport Wednesday evening.Saliba is being investigated for theft of public funds and money laundering, which are being investigated by Lebanese and European judiciaries. The search...