'Lebanese Madoff' charged with fraud

Financier Salah Ezzedine squandered more than $1bn of clients' money, state media reported. 

Financier Salah Ezzedine, dubbed "Lebanon's Bernard Madoff" by the Beirut press over allegations he squandered more than one billion dollars of his clients' money, has been charged with embezzlement and fraud, state media reported on Sunday.Ezzedine's business partner, Yussef Faour, the deputy mayor of the southern village of Maaroub, was charged with the same offences on Saturday, the official National News Agency reported.

Ezzedine turned himself in earlier this month after filing for bankruptcy. Faour was arrested days afterwards.

A Shiite Muslim from the southern town of Toura, Ezzedine reportedly handled the investments of thousands of clients from Lebanon's Shiite community.

"He managed to win the trust of the Shiites of south Lebanon and handled a lot of their money," Toura mayor Mohammed al-Duheini told AFP earlier this month.

Born in 1962, the financier first went into business organising pilgrimages to the Muslim holy places in Saudi Arabia.

He also operated a publishing house in the mainly Shiite southern suburbs of Beirut named after Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah's late son Hadi. It has since been shut down by the authorities.

While Ezzedine's own political beliefs remain unclear, Beirut newspapers have reported that many of his clients were members of the Shiite militant group, which fought a devastating 2006 war with Israel.

In a speech earlier this month, Nasrallah himself denied that Ezzedine had any ties to the party. But reports say Hezbollah MP Hussein Hajj Hassan has filed a complaint over a bounced cheque signed by Ezzedine.

Under Lebanon's banking secrecy law, banks cannot reveal their clients' names, assets or holdings except in cases of bankruptcy or if granted written authorisation by the client.

Join the Discussion

Disclaimer:The view expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by Arabian Business, its employees, sponsors or its advertisers.

Please post responsibly. Commenter Rules

  • No comments yet, be the first!

All comments are subject to approval before appearing

Further reading

Features & Analysis
Banking on reforms in Kuwait

Banking on reforms in Kuwait

As Kuwait stares down its first deficit in 20 years, the Gulf...

Saudis face dilemma between size and pricing in debut bond sale

Saudis face dilemma between size and pricing in debut bond sale

Riyadh is under pressure to maximise the size of its international...

Saudis cut wage, benefit bill in delicate pursuit of austerity

Saudis cut wage, benefit bill in delicate pursuit of austerity

Some Saudis appear prepared to accept austerity following the...

Most Discussed