The Governor of the Banque du Liban, Riad Salameh, will go on trial in October, after the activist group The People Want to Reform the System filed a lawsuit against him.
Judge Lara Abdul Samad, the Criminal Judge in Beirut, announced that Salameh will be trialed on the 14th of October, 2020, for the alleged violations of Articles 319, 320, 359, 360, 363, and 373 of the Penal Code, the National News Agency reported.
The Lebanese lawyers Haytham Ezzo, Hasan Bazzi, Jad Tohmeh, Joseph Wanis, Pierre Gemayel, Francois Kamel, Basil Abbas, and Journalist Joy Haddad, who are activists in The People Want to Reform The System, are representing the group in Salameh’s lawsuit.
In simple terms, the following are some of the descriptions of the Penal Code violations listed above:
Announcing fabricated facts and/or false allegations that cause a decline in national banknotes or destabilize the trust in the durability of the state’s cash and bonds that relate to the public financial trust (319).
Exhorting the public, through the recognized means of publishing, to either withdraw the funds deposited in banks and public funds, sell state bonds and other public bonds, or refrain from purchasing these bonds (320).
Embezzling money or any assets assigned to the employee to manage, collect, or maintain, by virtue of their job (359).
The misappropriation of the job through forgery or by distorting or manipulating invoices, accounts, papers, or other instruments in a manner that aims to cover up the occurrence of embezzlement (360).
These are in addition to several forms of violations specified in Articles 363 and 373, which include job negligence and default, breaching job duties, committing fraud and wrongdoing in the management of money belonging to a public person, and other violations.
As per the Code, the punishments for these crimes include prison time, fines, and, in some cases, temporary hard labor.
For each violation of the above articles, the penalty generally ranges between 3 months and 3 years of prison, and/or fines that start from 200,000 LBP and can reach as high as the value equivalent to that of the damage done by the violation.