Saturday News Briefs & Editorial

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Beirut - The story of Salah Ezzedine , who was nicknamed the 'Lebanese Madoff' is the focus of the media in Lebanon. It was confirmed yesterday that several key Hezbollah officials were financially affected by Ezzedine’s scheme and many are now suing him in the Lebanese courts .



Al-Mustaqbal daily said among those who filed charges against Ezzedine was Hezbollah lawmaker Hussein Hajj Hassan, who requested the reimbursement of his $200,000 investment


Hezbollah officials MP Mohammed Raad, Amin Sherri and Hajj Wafiq Safa are on the list of people who were affected by Ezzedine's bankruptcy, according to a report by Al-Arabiya television.


Latest reports have revealed that 11,000 Lebanese Shiites have lost the money that they have invested with Ezzedine

Ezzedine ‘s case has drawn comparisons in Lebanon with that of Bernard Madoff, the New York failed financier whose multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme wiped out thousands of investors and charities worldwide. Madoff was sentenced last June to 150 years in prison.

Ezzedine, who reportedly has very close ties with top Hezbollah officials , has declared bankruptcy , leaving thousands of citizens unemployed in Beirut's southern suburbs as well as in south and east Lebanon.

Ezzedine, a wealthy businessman from the town of Maaroub near the southern port city of Tyre, is a prominent financier particularly among Shiite circles in Lebanon. He is the owner of Dar Al-Hadi Publishing House - one of Lebanon's most prominent publishing houses of religious Shiite books which also prints books written by Hezbollah officials - and al-Hadi TV for children.

Preliminary investigation has revealed that Ezzedine had major business interests, particularly in oil and iron industries, in Eastern Europe and suffered substantial losses when oil prices dropped starting mid last year. He tried to make up for his losses by taking money from Lebanese investors, promising them up to 40 percent interest on their deposits which he could not repay, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.


"Al-Safir" newspaper which is well known for its support to Hezbollah reported Friday that Speaker Nabih Berri, Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and Shiite cleric Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah have been following up on this issue, especially since a large segment of Shiites has been affected by the bankruptcy.

According to Lebanese central News Agency (Al Markaziyah ) Hezbollah security apparatus with help from the Lebanese Ministry of Communications were able to pin point Ezzeddine’s location in southern Beirut . Hezbollah then raided his location arrested him and handed him over to the Lebanese judicial authorities. Earlier reports have incorrectly indicated that he has handed himself over the judicial authorities. Ezzedine’s family has reportedly fled the country to a unknown location and he was planning to unite with the members of his family when he was detained.

His wealth was estimated between 1.2 to 2 billion Dollars.

According to financial observers none of the Lebanese banks were involved in Ezzedine’s scheme and therefore won’t have any affect on the Lebanese financial situation.

Some observers have reported that Hezbollah ‘s loss as a result of Ezzedine’s bankruptcy exceeds its loss during the 2006 war with Israel . In 2006 Hezbollah was compensated by the Lebanese government, but this time this option is reportedly out of the question.

Saturday

12:01 Bassil: FPM does not want Hariri to be a photocopy of Siniora and we urge him to show us that he is different


11:52 Abi Ramaya told OTV": We have given a lot of concessions and we have become "naked" and we cannot participate with them on their own terms

11:30 Seven were wounded in two separate road accidents in Wadi el Sitt and the Karantina


1:18 MP Mohammed al-Hajjar told New TV: The cabinet should be formed before the president travels to New York. However, the government should be based on constitutional norms. Aoun continues to be the main obstacle facing the formation of the cabinet due to his impossible demands

11:15 Shams al-Din: The only solution to the process of forming the government lies in the return to the Constitution


11:11 Alloush told "LBC": Hariri may propose a governmental to Suleiman before he travel to New York but it will be subject the approved of the President of the Republic


11:10 MP Ibrahim Kenaan told LBC: Until now no one gave us a reply on a unity cabinet proposal that we can either reject or accept

11:05 MP Michel Moussa told Future News: It’s better to have a unity cabinet that strengthens and supports the president’s stances during the General Assembly meeting in New York.

11:02 Salloukh told "LBC": the situation in Gabon is beginning to return to calm and stability, none of the Lebanese was affected


10:50 some Islamic fundamentalist elements are committing terrorist acts inside the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain el Helweh

10:00 UAE embassy sources denied to the Kuwaiti al-Rai newspaper the report in al-Akhbar daily that UAE authorities forced Lebanese Shiites out of the country.

09:10 commander of the Israeli intelligence: the victory is certain in the next war on Hezbollah and will include access to the organization's leadership and its major activists

08:23 Judge Mirza: The result of the investigation of Ezzedine will show if the bankruptcy is fraudulent or the result of factors beyond his control

7:28 Alloush : the sudden Syrian attack against Jumblatt during the past few days reveals that the primary objective of the Syrian regime is to destroy the parliament majority

07:15 Gebran Bassil will be visiting PM designate saad Hariri at his home in Quraithem according to informed sources

Friday

8:12pm one person killed and 2 wounded in gunfire as a result of a personal clash in Qebbe Tripoli

7:45pm clashes involving rockets in Hermel between the Allo and Naser Eddine neighborhoods the death of ISF officer????????? Nasser eddine

6: 50 pm The White House said Friday it regretted Israel's reported plans to build new settlements, calling it "inconsistent" with its international commitments to the peace process.

6:20 pm A NATO jetfighter blasted two fuel tankers hijacked by the Taliban in northern Afghanistan on Friday, killing up to 90 people, including insurgents and dozens of civilians who had rushed to the scene to collect fuel

6;00 pm Al Markaziyah sources: Hezbollah security apparatus with help from The Lebanese communications ministry were able to pin point Ezzeddine’s location in southern Beirut . Hezbollah then raided his location arrested him and handed him over to the judicial authorities

5:00pm Unknown assailants shot and killed a policeman in Hermel in northeast Lebanon.

3:35 pm Al-Arabiya TV : Hezbollah officials MP Mohammed Raad, Amin Sherri and Hajj Wafiq Safa are all affected by Lebanese businessman Salah Ezzeddine's bankruptcy. Hezbollah MP Hussein al-Hajj has filed a lawsuit against Ezzeddine requesting reimbursement of his
$ 200,000 that he had invested with him.

YaLibnan is dedicated to Lebanese individuals who strongly believe in liberty and in the changes it will bring to a sovereign Lebanon. We sincerely believe that democracy will bring about fundamental changes in the Lebanese constitution that will result in a better Lebanon for all its citizens. For more infomration please visit www.yalibnan.com

This is originally posted at http://yalibnan.com/site/archives/2009/09/saturday_news_b_58.php and YaLibnan is responsible for the content.

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