Banker, Top Money Changers Released on Bail


Acting Beirut First Investigative Judge Charbel Abu Samra on Friday interrogated the deputy head of the money changers union, Elie S., nine top money changers and a bank manager in the case of currency manipulation.

He then released them on bails ranging in value from LBP 10 million to LBP 100 million.

The eleven individuals are accused of "breaching the money exchange law, laundering money and harming the state's financial standing."

The Financial Prosecution meanwhile appealed the decision before the Beirut accusatory commission.

Lebanon has detained dozens of foreign exchange office employees in recent weeks over the fast depreciating pound, including the head of the money changers' union Mahmoud Mrad at the start of the month.

The investigation has also seen the first charges against a senior central bank employee in the case.

On Monday, the director of monetary operations at the central bank, Mazen Hamdan, was charged with "manipulating the national currency and breaching the pound's stability through directly buying dollars from money changers," a judicial source said.

Late last week, the central bank issued a statement denying it was behind "any manipulation in the money changing market."

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