Written by 4:06 pm Europe Economy

European delegation will start money laundering investigations on Monday – Lebanon

If nothing unexpected occurs, the European investigations into the money laundering file will start on Monday, after the Cassation Public Prosecutor, Judge Ghassan Oweidat, meets in the morning with European judicial delegations coming from France, Germany, and Luxembourg in the hall designated for investigation on the fourth floor in the Palace of Justice and discusses with them the plan of action. Oweidat is assured of providing facilitating conditions for the mission of the delegations.


Before proceeding with the investigations taking place under the supervision of judges Imad Kaplan and Mirna Kallas, the Lebanese judiciary confirms its keenness to harmonize the implementation of European judicial assistance requests with the application of Lebanese law, which prevents the permissibility of any file shrouded in secrecy.


The investigations will occur with twelve persons for five days unless they are accelerated. Each has the right to bring a lawyer with him/her. Other people will be requested at a later time, depending on the development of the case.


According to judicial sources, investigations will focus on sums of money withheld in Europe exceeding 250 million dollars, and some say that it reaches 500 million dollars with real estate. Some European countries suspect that these funds resulted from money laundering. Investigators will ask about the sources of funds, how they were transferred, and the Lebanese banks involved in such operations.


Concerned European countries have seized these funds and real estate until the end of the investigations. If they prove that they result from suspicious and illegal sources, smuggling, and confirmed corruption, they will confiscate them.


LBCI learned that the Lebanese judiciary had requested the Lebanese government to assign a lawyer to follow up on this matter. Still, it did not do so, and all it did was order the seizure of these funds, but the Lebanese seizure took place after the European seizure, and thus if the cases were proven valid, Europeans would obtain the confiscations of money and real estate.


According to the European judiciary, proving the crime of money laundering enables it to start prosecution in European countries and confiscate funds. Therefore, what will Lebanon do in this case? Will it submit to European laws, and can it register its objection to the European seizure of assets? It seems like it takes work.


However, the Lebanese Ministry of Justice is studying a new mechanism to pursue this process, and it will not allow, as it says, to neglect the issue and leave Lebanese money without obtaining it in any way.

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