The United States sanctioned a lawmaker and two Lebanese businessmen on Thursday, accusing them of taking advantage of Lebanon’s “endemic” corruption and “facilitating the collapse of the rule of law.” Where is their country going through the historic economic crisis.
Merchants Mujahideen Arab and Dani Curry and Congressman Jameel Said “each profited from the widespread corruption and sponsorship in Lebanon, and seek personal gain at the expense of the people and state institutions.” The statement said.
The article stated that under these sanctions, all the three people’s property and interests in the United States were blocked.
Andrea Gacki, director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), said: “The people of Lebanon should see the end of the local corruption that caused the country to fall into an unprecedented crisis by businessmen and politicians.”
“It is time to implement the necessary economic reforms and end the corrupt practices that undermine Lebanon’s foundation. The Ministry of Finance will not hesitate to use its tools to combat impunity in Lebanon,” she added.
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Brinken emphasized in another statement that these sanctions were decided in “solidarity with the Lebanese people.”
Due to decades of mismanagement and corruption, Lebanon is in the throes of a devastating economic crisis.
Since the fall of 2019, Lebanese have been subject to severe bank restrictions and unable to use their funds freely, and the local currency has depreciated by more than 90% against the U.S. dollar on the black market. With soaring inflation and severe shortages of medicines, fuel and electricity, nearly 80% of the population now lives in poverty.
Rich businessman Jihad al-Arab, a close friend of former prime minister Saad Hariri, was accused by Washington of winning several public contracts “in exchange for bribery to government officials” “because of his political connections.” .
According to U.S. authorities, in 2016, he was awarded a $288 million contract to build a landfill “after garbage invaded the streets of Beirut”. But according to the Ministry of Finance, “Later reports showed that the Arab company added water to the garbage container to increase its billable weight.”
As for Dany Khoury, a close friend of the former minister Gebran Bassil, he himself has been sanctioned by the United States. He has been accused of collecting millions of dollars in public contracts while “failing to significantly fulfill the terms of these contracts.”
“Curry and his company are accused of dumping toxic waste and garbage into the Mediterranean, poisoning fisheries, polluting Lebanese beaches, and failing to solve the garbage crisis,” the Ministry of Finance said.
Finally, according to the US authorities, former Lebanese Security Directorate Jameel Sayed “trying to circumvent National Bank policies and regulations.”
According to the Ministry of Finance, the former general was imprisoned for four years while investigating the murder of Lebanese leader Rafic Hariri, “with the help of a senior government official, more than $120 million was transferred Invest overseas”.
“During demonstrations in 2019, when protesters gathered in front of his home to demand his resignation, calling him corrupt, Sayed called on the authorities to shoot and kill the demonstrators,” the US statement said.