Lebanon’s State Prosecutor Just Suspended the Freezing of Banks Assets

State Prosecutor Judge Ghassan Oueidat issued a statement in an attempt to overthrow the Financial State Prosecutor Ali Ibrahim’s decision on March 5th to freeze the assets of 21 Lebanese Banks and their board of directors.

According to NNA, the statement explained that Judge Oueidat took his decision after reviewing all the documents, “especially the interrogation records” and after the interrogation of the Association of Banks.

“Whereas, the measure taken from the presence of the Financial Attorney General, regardless of its validity or lack thereof, is a temporary administrative measure that can be reversed or frozen when the national interest becomes threatened,” Judge Oueidat stated.

He explained that he has received “from reliable sources that the international financial authorities intend, and would, stop dealing with Lebanese banks and financial bodies and imposed guarantees to work with them.”

Such a measure, according to Judge Oueidat, would create chaos in the financial and economic sectors, hence in the country, confusing the concerned authorities in their “study of ways and solutions of financial scenarios that are under preparation to face the crisis the country is going through.”

“Therefore, and pursuant to the provisions of Articles 13 and 21 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, we decide to freeze the decision taken and its effects pending the study of its impact on the national currency, banking transactions, depositors’ funds, and economic security,” his statement concluded.

Judge Oueidat’s decision resulted in a major anger outbreak among the Lebanese public opinion. They foresee this as the judicial system losing the corruption battle against banks and their archaic and political strategies.

#DownWithJudgeGhassanOueidat has been trending in Lebanon since the State Prosecutor’s decision.

Financial Prosecutor Ali Ibrahim’s decision to freeze the assets of 21 Lebanese banks came after an investigation that involved listening to bank owners’ testimonials on Monday, March 2nd.

The freeze is a type of seizure that prevents any form of disposal or emptying of the banks and the board of directors’ real estate or property, i.e. neither buying nor selling and thus preventing without any possibility of dealing in this regard.

The Financial Prosecutor, and within his powers, in an attempt to avoid smuggling, can make such a decision, which indicates that there is a suspicion on the owners of the banks and the heads of boards of directors.

In other words, Judge Ibrahim was not convinced by what he heard during his investigation on Monday.

Judge Ibrahim confirmed to Lebanon24 that “his recent decision regarding placing a ban on disposal of the assets of banks is purely judicial and explicit.”

The prosecutor explained: “I work within the exclusive judicial frameworks and there is no political pressure from anyone. My decision does not target depositors and is not related to the depositors’ money.”

Regarding Judge Oueidat’s decision to freeze his decision, the latter responded by saying: “Judge Oueidat has the right to do that, and things are going through the judicial process.”