BEIRUT — The cabinet on Monday called on caretaker Justice Minister Henri Khoury to propose new lawyers to represent Lebanon's interests in the preventive seizure of Banque du Liban (BDL) Governor Riad Salameh's assets in France.
Salameh faces corruption charges in Lebanon, France and Germany over accusations that he colluded to siphon hundreds of millions of dollars from BDL, and then laundered the money abroad. French courts recently seized Salameh's assets in France.
In a statement sent to Khoury on Monday morning, caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati said he wished to convene the cabinet for "an urgent meeting with a single item on the agenda:" to discuss which lawyers will defend Lebanon's interests in the case.
The statement also called on Khoury to attend the cabinet meeting, which Mikati later announced will take place on Wednesday at 9 a.m.
Two renowned criminal lawyers, Emmanuel Daoud and Pascal Beauvais, were previously selected for the task in March. They both agreed to offer their services free of charge and signed contracts with Khoury in early April, who then forwarded their contracts to the cabinet for approval.
When the cabinet convened last Friday, the attending ministers decided to veto the decision and instructed Khoury — close to the Free Patriotic Movement and who did not attend the meeting — to present new names.
According to the meeting's minutes, the cabinet justified its decision by claiming one of the two lawyers was linked to an organization "suspected of promoting Zionist ideas."
This decision provoked an outcry on Lebanese social media, especially in political circles.
Khoury said he intends to hold a press conference on Tuesday at noon to "reveal the truth, with supporting documents" about "the appointment of French lawyers with a view to returning the Lebanese state's money."
Ministers 'not convinced'
The cabinet statement addressed to Khoury read: "After discussion [at Friday's cabinet meeting], the ministers were not convinced by the names you presented, in the absence of clear information about them, especially as you did not attend this meeting ... We have therefore decided to ask you to suggest new names as soon as possible."
"The Prime Minister informs you that he intends to call an urgent cabinet meeting with a single item on the agenda concerning the agreement on the appointment of French lawyers to assist ... in the complaint presented by France," the statement continued.
BDL's Salameh became the subject of an Interpol red notice after an international arrest warrant was issued by the French judiciary.
In addition, Germany verbally informed Lebanon on Tuesday of an arrest warrant for Salameh "for corruption, forgery, money laundering and embezzlement," according to Reuters.
BEIRUT — The cabinet on Monday called on caretaker Justice Minister Henri Khoury to propose new lawyers to represent Lebanon's interests in the preventive seizure of Banque du Liban (BDL) Governor Riad Salameh's assets in France.Salameh faces corruption charges in Lebanon, France and Germany over accusations that he colluded to siphon hundreds of millions of dollars from BDL, and then...