French, German and Luxembourg judges are due to arrive in Beirut early next week to investigate financial malpractice allegedly involving Banque du Liban's governor, Riad Salameh.
The judges will likely start their questioning on Jan. 16, an informed judicial source told L'Orient-Le Jour.
The source added that the magistrates will be hearing Salameh and his brother Raja, as well as CEOs and other bank officials.
Based on sessions organized by the Lebanese Cassation Prosecutor's Office, approximately 25 people have been summoned to appear at the Palace of Justice in the space of five days, the same source told L'Orient-Le Jour.
When asked how the investigations could be completed in such a short period of time, the source said the hearings are expected to last until late at night.
Lawyers at the Lebanese Cassation Prosecutor's Office will relay questions asked by the European investigators to those being interrogated. In addition to Lebanese judges, the summoned will speak in the presence of magistrates from the three European countries.
However, no one is legally obliged to comply with the summons, as the Lebanese judiciary decided not to issue warrants for their appearance. Additionally, a person who has agreed to appear in court may refuse to answer any question, the same source said.
They added that no request has yet been made to the prosecutor's office to question the legality of foreign judges launching inquiries into investigations carried out by the Lebanese judiciary
In any case, it seems Lebanon will not benefit from the results of the European investigations, as the foreign states have already seized disputed assets on their respective territories.
The Lebanese prosecutor's office subsequently requested a seizure of these assets, but Lebanon is not considered a priority because the State Litigation department has not taken "necessary measures," including the decision to appoint a state lawyer, added the same source.