The Internal Security Forces (ISF) caught a traveler trying to board a plane at Beirut airport with a bag that contained large sums of counterfeit money and a strange story.
The suspect, 44-year-old Iraqi national “R.S.,” was arrested by airport security with 35 million Iraqi dinars (equivalent to about $30,000), $10,000, and €200 – all counterfeit – stored in a bag, as he attempted to depart to Baghdad.
The arrest took place last Sunday, December 12th, and was followed by the arrest of 3 other people suspected to be involved in the act, the ISF said in a statement on Saturday.
The statement then shared some of the testimonies of the detainees, who were identified as “S.G.” (Lebanese, 29), “I.B.” (Lebanese, 48, works at the airport as a porter), and “M.S.” (Lebanese, 27, works for an airline company at the airport).
During his interrogation, R.S. claimed that the bag that was caught with him was not his, and that S.G., the bag’s actual owner, and the porter I.B., had asked him to deliver it to the plane because S.G. didn’t have the money to pay for extra baggage charges.
He said that he did not know what the bag contained.
I.B. confirmed that he had asked R.S. to deliver S.G.’s bag upon her request, adding that there was no prior knowledge existing between them and that she did not have enough money to pay for excess baggage.
Employee M.S. denied having any relation to the incident.
Similarly, when S.G. was interrogated, she confirmed that the bag was hers, that she knew none of the 3 other detainees, and that she had asked I.B. to help her find a traveler leaving aboard the same plane she was boarding and convince them of transporting her bag with them to Iraq.
However, S.G. said that she did not know there was fake money in the bag.
She explained that she had received it 15 days prior to her arrest from an Iraqi national that she only knew as “Abou Barouka,” who is a neighbor of her Iraqi husband’s family in Iraq.
Eventually, R.S., I.B., and M.S. were released, while S.G. was transferred, along with the seized items, to the Financial Crimes and Money Launchering Repression Bureau, the ISF said.