Lebanon is undergoing a major test in the process of accountability and reform, which is monitored internationally by the donors, who refuse to provide any financial support to state institutions before the authorities implement the rescue plans, and threaten to impose direct sanctions on Lebanese officials in response to their failure to pull the country out of collapse.
Attention is drawn to the manner in which the Lebanese state has dealt with the international arrest warrant issued against the Governor of the Central Bank of Lebanon, Riad Salameh, by the French judge, Aude Borosi, after he failed the day before yesterday, Tuesday, to attend the investigation session in Paris, on charges of fraud and money laundering, and whether it will continue its policy. impunity for decades.
Al-Araby Al-Jadeed learned from informed sources that “there is an intense political movement by senior Lebanese officials to consult on how to deal with the memorandum issued against Salameh, and the measures that may be taken against him, so that protecting Salameh is no longer possible after the international decision, which has consequences.” Financial and banking on Lebanon, hence the discussion either of dismissing him after calling the Council of Ministers to convene soon, or consulting with him about the possibility of submitting his resignation, bearing in mind that there are disagreements about the person who will temporarily succeed him when his term ends next July, until a new president is elected for the country. “.
This also coincides with the exit of calls by some deputies for Salama’s resignation from office or his dismissal, due to his remaining at the head of the governorship (the governor of the central bank) of great risks to the country, monetary and economic, and in his dealings with foreign banks and international donors.
The day before yesterday, the French judge, Aude Borosi, issued an international arrest warrant against Salama, after he failed to appear before her. And other accusations made by him.
Salameh’s legal agents had also submitted formal arguments before the Public Prosecution Office of the Court of Cassation to suspend cooperation with European investigations, and suffice with the local investigation, at a time when the judiciary in Lebanon is accused of being politically colored, protecting the pillars of the system, and obstructing justice, and the last scene of that was the failure of the Lebanese apparatus. In informing Salama several times of the Parisian session, which he used as a pretext for not attending.
From a legal, technical and procedural point of view, researcher in banking and financial laws, Sabine El-Kak, tells Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that, “The Lebanese state will be notified of the international arrest warrant and the request from Interpol after the French judiciary circulated the memorandum with Salameh’s right to the international Interpol to apply it to all borders and crossings, and notify it.” Consequently, to the international authorities, which will definitively disrupt his movement through airports and countries.
Al-Kak believes that “the Lebanese state will adhere to the principle stipulated in the Penal Code in Lebanon, in terms of the fact that the Lebanese government does not implement extradition requests if the person being pursued or wanted is one of its nationals, or has territorial jurisdiction over the crime committed, and therefore, in practice, the extradition request will be referred to it, but The Lebanese state will apply the rule of non-extradition of its nationals.”
On the other hand, Al-Kak says, “The Lebanese state’s invoking or adherence to this legal principle for not extraditing him does not mean that sovereign national internal measures will not be taken against him, and that those pursued or wanted remain fugitives from justice simply because they are Lebanese and live in their country. Will the Lebanese state deal with the arrest warrant?” Seriously, nationally and sovereignly, and considers that his continuation of governance and his failure to prosecute him in a serious manner before the Lebanese judiciary and to allow local judges to go through their judicial procedures to the end, is something that harms the Lebanese state? Here is the question.
Therefore, Al-Kak says, “It is necessary to distinguish between two points, the first that is related to the state’s pretext of not handing over Salameh as a Lebanese citizen to the French state (noting that he also has French nationality, but the nationality of birth is Lebanese), and the second, the way the Lebanese state deals with the memorandum, Whether in terms of letting the judges work independently in the file, and the appearance it will have in front of the International Monetary Fund and the international community as a whole, will it appear that it is truly a country on the path of reform, accountability and accountability, or is it still covering the pursuers and colluding with them?
Elk believes that Lebanon’s financial system is now more than ever in danger, and the country’s reputation is at stake.
Al-Kak points out that the power to remove Salameh from his position belongs to the Council of Ministers, stressing that it is not possible to invoke the government’s status as a caretaker government for not taking this step.
For his part, economist Roy Badaro warns of the danger of keeping the central bank governor, Riad Salameh, in his position until the end of his term next July, and the failure of the Council of Ministers to perform its role, in dismissing him or asking him to submit his resignation, because Salameh continues in his duties after The issuance of the international arrest warrant against him has great repercussions on Lebanon’s banking and financial system, and the international donor agencies’ dealings with him.
In his interview with Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, Badaro points out that there is no third solution for Lebanon. Either the caretaker prime minister, Najib Mikati, must ask Salameh to resign immediately, or the cabinet dismisses him, as the political system can no longer cover him or hide behind his finger. Pointing out that the second step would be, for Wasim Mansouri, Deputy Governor of the First Central Bank, to temporarily take his place until a new president of the republic is elected.
Badaro stresses that if Lebanon does not follow these paths, the consequences will be very dire for the Lebanese people and the banking system as a whole.
Likewise, Badaro stops at “the consequences of Salama remaining in office, and Lebanon’s failure to hold him accountable and accountable, and the repercussions of this on his relations with international donors, led by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, so will they continue to deal with the Governor of the Banque du Liban after Salameh became an official international suspect.” ?”