Michel Daher, Deputy for Zahle and member of the parliamentary bloc of the Free Patriotic Movement, saw his movable and immovable assets seized in Lebanon, subject of a preventive referral according to a report by L’Orient le Jour.
That came on the basis of an indictment issued last October by the first investigating judge of Mount Lebanon, Nicolas Mansour, based on conclusions of the attorney general at the Court of Appeal of Mount Lebanon, Ghada Aoun as L’Orient le Jour reports.
Politician Michel Daher, his son Marc and the company Master Capital Group (MCG) of which he is CEO, are accused of breach of trust and violation of the law on the organization of the profession of financial intermediation according to news outlet Saudi24.
These are crimes punishable respectively by one year and three years imprisonment.
The victim of the alleged scam is a Syrian trader, Samer Jamil. The company MCG, specialized in financial intermediation, had offered him in 2011 to integrate the electronic platform belonging to international financial companies and to open an account with MCG to facilitate its access to the financial markets.
In January 2015, the Syrian trader noted that he no longer had access to the electronic system and that the deposited funds had disappeared.
Michel Daher reportedly tried to convince him that he lost his money due to the fluctuation of the currency, the euro having fallen at that time against the Swiss franc.
However, the circulars issued for the regulation of the financial markets require financial intermediation companies to deduct, in the event of devaluation, only 25% of the funds deposited, with the responsibility of returning the remaining 75% to the investor.
Mr. Jamil then went to court through his lawyer, Joe Karam. Questioned by L’Orient-Le Jour, Mr. Karam stated that he had complained to the special investigation unit within the Lebanese Capital Markets Authority chaired by the Governor of the Banque du Liban.
“The commission of inquiry carried out investigations on the basis of which the capital markets authority issued decisions overwhelming Michel Daher and asking him to settle the dispute by returning the money,” said Karam.
He noted however that there have been pressures to withhold the results of the investigations and decisions.
In 2016, the lawyer addressed judge Zalfa Hassan in summary proceedings in Beirut, upon which she ordered the delivery of the requested documents.
He submitted them to the financial prosecutor’s office, which initiated proceedings against Michel Daher.
Attorney Karam defended the case before the examining magistrate of Mount Lebanon, who was then ousted following an appeal brought against him by Attorney Karam for bias.
It was then that Judge Nicolas Mansour took charge of the file according to Al-Akhbar, before making his indictment last October, reinforced by the conclusions of approval by Judge Ghada Aoun.
“The hearing has been set for June 3rd”, underlines Mr. Karam.
He specified on the one hand that “the accused will have to attend all the hearings” and on the other hand that “the seizure of the goods will last throughout the trial.”
“This is the first time that a Deputy in office has seen his property seized,” he said.