Get ready for… The Lebanon Papers? Corruption & tax evasion leaks may hit Lebanon’s already embattled banks
Translated today by our Mideastwire.com (for a free trial email email@example.com):
On May 27, the Al-Akhbar daily newspaper carried the following report by Mohammad al-Eid: “…The Algerie Patriotique website, a website that uses French, predicted that a new global scandal is imminent, the main protagonists of which will consist of politicians, businessmen, and celebrities who hid their money in international Lebanese banks for tax evasion reasons. This will be a new show similar to the recently revealed Panama Papers through an international investigation. The piece of news further indicated that several Algerian officials are implicated in this case, which warns of a possible political earthquake in Algeria if the contents are revealed.
“Algerie Patriotique specifically mentioned one Algerian politician, Ammar Saadani, the secretary general of the National Liberation Front who was referred to by name while the website merely mentioned that several other Algerian figures who are part of the cabinet also have secret accounts in the Lebanese banks aimed at hiding illegal funds they obtained in the past years… However, although this is a piece of news with a global dimension, the website merely referred to unknown sources that reportedly revealed these data without specifying who these sources were or their field of work.
“In addition, the pieces of information contained in the report included no minute details that must support this kind of news in order to provide them with the needed credibility. Thus, the piece of news was very brief and only contained the main information in the leaking on documents from Lebanese banks pertaining to tax evasion scandals without specifying the time for revealing this scandal. In order to further explore this matter, Al-akhbar asked the only Algerian reporter who was part of the Panama Papers, Elias Halal. The man said that he has no idea about an upcoming scandal by the name of the Lebanese Papers knowing that Halal is a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which, according to Algerie Patritique, will supposedly be revealing the scandal…
“Regardless of the corruption suspicions targeting Algerian official, observers believe that this piece of news includes an attempt at using this matter in the context of the current conflict between the Algerian regime’s wings. The owner of Algerie Patriotique is the son of Gen. Khaled Nizar, the minister of defense in the 1990s who is known for ousting President Al-Shazli bin Jadid when the Islamic Slavation Front won the first round at the legislative elections in 1991 then completely canceling these elections and installing a regime where the military was in control of the entire state. Up until he retired, Nizar was close to the former leader of the intelligence services, Gen. Tawfiq.
“As for politician Ammar Saadani, he is close to the circle of President Bouteflika mainly his brother, the man with the great power currently, Said Bouteflika. Prior to the 2014 presidential elections, Saadani launched a vivious campaign against the (former) intelligence director, Gen. Tawfiq, making some serious accusations that affected his prestige before he was officially ousted by the end of last year…”