BEIRUT — A private conversation involving independent MP Cynthia Zarazir was leaked on social media platforms earlier this week, causing controversy among the bloc.
In the leaked conversation, Zarazir can be heard criticizing some of her colleagues from the Forces of Change group, notably MP Paula Yaacoubian.
L'Orient Today was unable to verify the authenticity of the recording independently, but Zarazir later apologized for her comments.
The controversy began last week when rumors and accusations began circling on social media that Yaacoubian previously bribed parliamentary police. Yaacoubian later posted videos on her personal social media accounts, defending herself.
In the leaked conversation, Zarazir can be heard saying Yaacoubian “is always criticized in social media posts but never replies. So the fact that she was quick to do the videos shows that [the bribery rumors] are true. She’s a psychopath.”
Zarazir is also heard saying that “the [Lebanese] people are more worthy of this money, and not those criminals [the parliamentary police.]”
“Paula always tells me that she is not on speaking terms with Marc [Daou], Michel [Doueihy], and Waddah [Sadek] but she is always seen [in the media] talking and sitting with them,” Zarazir continued in the leaked conversation. “Michel [Doueihy] recently bought four jeep cars, and no one has asked where he got his money from.”
MP Michel Doueihy issued a statement on Thursday responding to Zarazir's comments.
"Everything that's said in the disgraceful recording regarding me and my colleagues is cheap fabrications and baseless lies and are figments of the imagination," said Doueihy. "Lies that do not deserve a response in the first place.”
The Forces of Change MPs parliamentary bloc also issued a statement on Thursday. According to the statement, Zarazir's comments are “fake."
The Forces of Change bloc is comprised of independent MPs who ran in legislative elections against the traditional parties in the aftermath of the October 2019 protests.
"Whatever is posted on untrustworthy media platforms is completely untrue and made up," the statement continued. "Furthermore, this tries to tarnish our image as the Forces of Change within Parliament, fighting corruption and the current ruling class.”
Their statement concluded by saying Zarazir's comments were “far from reality” and fall within the scope of the “greater war that has been launched against us since we arrived in Parliament, to try and silence us.”
Zarazir tweeted an apology for her comments on Thursday.
In the tweet, she attempted to clarify her statements from the leaked conversation, which she said was “private" and "illegally and unethically leaked to the media."
"However, I apologize for what I said, which was not based on facts or verdicts," Zarazir said in her tweet.
She then called the timing of the leak “suspicious,” as it could be used by the authorities to “divert the attention from what is happening with [Banque Du Liban’s governor] Riad Salameh, who has an international arrest warrant against him.”
Forces of Change MP Ibrahim Mneimneh issued a statement Thursday saying Zarazir's comments were “baseless."
"Although she has already apologized, her baseless words are still an attempt to tarnish the image of the MPs who entered Parliament to fight corruption and the current political class that has allowed the country to reach this stage,” Mneimneh continued.
This is not the first time that Zarazir is at the center of political controversy.
Her old tweets targeting Syrian refugees resurfaced after her election top Parliament, provoking negative reactions. Later, during a string of bank holdups in Beirut, Zarazir staged a holdup to try to recover a part of her blocked savings.
BEIRUT — A private conversation involving independent MP Cynthia Zarazir was leaked on social media platforms earlier this week, causing controversy among the bloc.In the leaked conversation, Zarazir can be heard criticizing some of her colleagues from the Forces of Change group, notably MP Paula Yaacoubian.L'Orient Today was unable to verify the authenticity of the recording independently,...