03 March 2013

* Madina Bank Scandal Back at Forefront as Koleilat Intends to Hand Over Names of Culprits


Rana Koleilat, who was accused of playing a key role in the fraud case at al-Madina Bank, revealed on Wednesday that she will hand over to authorities the names of her accomplices. 

Koleilat said in comments published in al-Akhbar newspaper that General Prosecutor Judge Hatem Madi will be handed over during the upcoming two weeks the names of the figures that received funds from her.

The newspaper expected that the experts committee, tasked with the case, will accomplish its report in two weeks and will hand it over to judge Madi.

The committee was formed when the bank's millions of dollars of fraud erupted in 2003 to investigate money laundering.

Judge Madi tasked earlier this month the committee to probe the amount and the reasons of the payments made within a maximum three week deadline.

During 12 years at the private al-Madina bank, Koleilat rose from clerk to executive. It was an era in which Syria dominated Lebanon and when paying off Syrian intelligence agents and providing gifts to powerful politicians was common.

Koleilat was at the center of the scandal that engulfed al-Madina when the Central Bank announced in July 2003 that it had detected a cash deficit at the bank of more than euro 250 million, along with other irregularities.

Other suspects in the case include Adnan Abu Ayash and his brother Ibrahim.

Reports have said that the amount missing from the two banks could total as much as euro 1.0 billion.



(naharnet)

Lebanon Time-Line

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Introducing Lebanon

Coolly combining the ancient with the ultramodern, Lebanon is one of the most captivating countries in the Middle East. From the Phoenician findings of Tyre (Sour) and Roman Baalbek's tremendous temple to Beirut's BO18 and Bernard Khoury's modern movement, the span of Lebanon's history leaves many visitors spinning. Tripoli (Trablous) is considered to have the best souk in the country and is famous for its Mamluk architecture. It's well equipped with a taste of modernity as well; Jounieh, formerly a sleepy fishing village, is a town alive with nightclubs and glitz on summer weekends.

With all of the Middle East's best bits - warm and welcoming people, mind-blowing history and considerable culture, Lebanon is also the antithesis of many people's imaginings of the Middle East: mostly mountainous with skiing to boot, it's also laid-back, liberal and fun. While Beirut is fast becoming the region's party place, Lebanon is working hard to recapture its crown as the 'Paris of the Orient'.

The rejuvenation of the Beirut Central District is one of the largest, most ambitious urban redevelopment projects ever undertaken. Travellers will find the excitement surrounding this and other developments and designs palpable - and very infectious.

Finally, Lebanon's cuisine is considered the richest of the region. From hummus to hommard (lobster), you'll dine like a king. With legendary sights, hospitality, food and nightlife, what more could a traveller want?

Introducing Beirut

What Beirut is depends entirely on where you are. If you’re gazing at the beautifully reconstructed colonial relics and mosques of central Beirut’s Downtown, the city is a triumph of rejuvenation over disaster.

If you’re in the young, vibrant neighbourhoods of Gemmayzeh or Achrafiye, Beirut is about living for the moment: partying, eating and drinking as if there’s no tomorrow. If you’re standing in the shadow of buildings still peppered with bullet holes, or walking the Green Line with an elderly resident, it’s a city of bitter memories and a dark past. If you’re with Beirut’s Armenians, Beirut is about salvation; if you’re with its handful of Jews, it’s about hiding your true identity. Here you’ll find the freest gay scene in the Arab Middle East, yet homosexuality is still illegal. If you’re in one of Beirut’s southern refugee camps, Beirut is about sorrow and displacement; other southern districts are considered a base for paramilitary operations and south Beirut is home to infamous Hezbollah secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah. For some, it’s a city of fear; for others, freedom.

Throw in maniacal drivers, air pollution from old, smoking Mercedes taxis, world-class universities, bars to rival Soho and coffee thicker than mud, political demonstrations, and swimming pools awash with more silicone than Miami. Add people so friendly you’ll swear it can’t be true, a political situation existing on a knife-edge, internationally renowned museums and gallery openings that continue in the face of explosions, assassinations and power cuts, and you’ll find that you’ve never experienced a capital city quite so alive and kicking – despite its frequent volatility.