A ready list of suspects: Where did you get this?

Antoine Farah wrote in “The Republic”: “The theory of distinguishing between deposits on a legitimate or illegitimate basis has become active recently, instead of the prevailing classification between qualified and unqualified. Is it possible to achieve this classification? Are there estimates of the amount of illegal money in the banks, or is this type of claim just throwing dust in the eyes, to blind people and waste more time?

Farah continued,

Since the acting Governor of the Bank of Lebanon, Wassim Mansouri, spoke about the theory of separating deposits on the basis of what is legitimate and what is illegitimate, considering that a step of this kind will reduce the volume of deposits required to be repaid by a large percentage, until positions have changed in evaluating this proposal, between supporters and critics. . Mansouri considered that this type of classification should replace the prevailing classification, between qualified and unqualified. It is known that this classification considers that it is not possible to equate dollar deposits before October 2019 with those that were transferred or entered the banking sector after this date.

To clarify, what Mansouri meant is that a significant percentage of the deposits in banks are “dirty” money that was laundered by entering the financial sector, and it is money resulting from economic crimes punishable by law, including, of course, stolen money that its owners obtained from… General looting operations prevailing in the country.

In principle, a proposal of this kind is not supposed to raise objections, given that it separates between permissible money and forbidden money. But the questions that have come to light relate to the realism of the proposal first, given that the first principle for the success of any idea is to confirm whether it is implementable or not, lest it turn into an excuse for stagnation and preventing a real possible solution. They also relate to justice and fairness, meaning that the proposals are supposed to lead in the event Implementing it to treat people with justice and fairness. Are these two conditions met in a proposal of this type?

The dilemma in the country is that corruption has gone beyond the stage of individual crimes, and has reached the stage of the general climate many years ago. To simplify this reality, we should note that the economic crimes that may lead to the existence of an illegal deposit include large sectors that qualify as laundering. That is, money that aims to finance terrorism, drug money, corruption money resulting from bribes, all the way to money whose owner has not paid real taxes on it, are all illegal money according to the laundering law. Can this concept be applied to deposits to classify them between legitimate and illegitimate?

Realistically, the country has been living in a culture of tax evasion for decades, and the two-book policy prevailing in the majority of companies, and at the individual level, allows the conclusion, and if we exclude the employee from whom income tax is deducted in advance through the institution for which he works, it can be confirmed with peace of mind that the majority of revenues Which turn into deposits that may contain some type of tax evasion. We tested this matter when the idea of ​​monitoring the payment of taxes through the movement of money in banks was proposed, and comparing it to the statements that are reported to the Ministry of Finance to pay taxes. This project did not see the light, for known reasons. However, if the proposal is intended to neutralize this type of financial crime (if that is legally possible), and to be satisfied with specific types that include laundering resulting from drug trafficking, terrorist financing, or theft through exploitation of one’s job position or political position, then it may be useful to return to Records of the Anti-Laundering Commission, headed by the Governor of the Bank of Lebanon, to discover a huge amount of suspicious files sleeping in the judiciary’s drawers, some of which did not reach the judiciary.

This paradox is clear from the investigations conducted by the FATF Committee, according to which it decided, at the Bahrain meeting, not to include Lebanon on the gray list. This report contains a clear indication that the work of the banks and the work of the Special Investigation Commission is good, and the observations in this area are minor. While the report pointed to the scandalous loophole that exists in the judiciary, where files arrive and go dormant. It is obvious that the stagnation of these files results from political interference that prevents judicial investigations into suspicious parties who enjoy political or even religious protection. There are hundreds of cases related to laundering crimes that have not been completed until the verdict is pronounced and implemented. Banks have submitted it to the Bank of Lebanon, so that it can be investigated.

Hence, if what is really required is the discovery of illegal funds, and so that any proposal in this context does not turn into what is known as (Wishful thinking), it is possible to start with what is available in the records of the Special Investigation Commission and in the records of the judiciary. These cases include a long list of suspects, and include a variety of senior civilian, military, and political officials, as well as religious figures, in addition to institutions. So why are these files not moved, and perhaps the identities of the suspects revealed, if the law allows that? This is where we start, and then for every recent incident.

The exchange rate of the dollar in Lebanon today, moment by moment

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