Report: Al-Madina Bank Scandal Back to Spotlight after Madi-Harb Dispute

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A decision by General Prosecutor Judge Hatem Madi to reopen the fraud case at al-Madina Bank raised question marks on his intentions, only days after he requested lifting the parliamentary immunity off MP Butros Harb for allegedly offending the president and the judiciary.

Madi tasked on Thursday an experts committee to reveal the names of persons who had received funds from al-Madina and its twin the United Credit Bank.

The committee was formed when the bank's millions of dollars of fraud erupted in 2003 to investigate money laundering.

The general prosecutor also asked the committee to probe the amount and the reasons of the payments made within a maximum three week deadline.

Madi's decision raised questions whether he intended to target Harb who had been at a certain stage the lawyer of a defendant in the bank scandal, Rana Koleilat, who was accused of playing a key role in the fraud.

But sources close to the lawmaker denied that he was paid off. They said that Koleilat once asked Harb to represent her in court but when he studied the bank's case he discovered a bouncing check of more than euro 300 million.

So he informed the suspect that he could not defend her, they added.

During 12 years at the private al-Madina bank, Koleilat rose from clerk to executive. It was an era in which Syria dominated Lebanon and when paying off Syrian intelligence agents and providing gifts to powerful politicians was common.

Koleilat was at the center of the scandal that engulfed al-Madina when the Central Bank announced in July 2003 that it had detected a cash deficit at the bank of more than euro 250 million, along with other irregularities.

Other suspects in the case include Adnan Abu Ayash and his brother Ibrahim.

Reports have said that the amount missing from the two banks could total as much as euro 1.0 billion.

Madi sent a memo to Justice Minister Shakib Qortbawi on Monday requesting that the Batroun MP's immunity be lifted, so that he can be tried for offending President Michel Suleiman and the judiciary.

But Harb challenged him, saying he would file a lawsuit against the general prosecutor for trying to strike a deal with Hizbullah over a party member accused of involvement in an assassination attempt against him last year.

Comments 32
Missing rudy 08 February 2013, 08:55

Now that's interesting. Yes please do reveal ALL the names.

For once let something be made public without under the table deals.

Missing rudy 08 February 2013, 12:45

im not defending him or accusing him.

as a matter of fact i dont really care about this specific case, but i think these inquiries should be made on the widest scale possible.

if hard took some money that is his lawyer fee, then he didnt do anything wrong. if he took a few million dollars, thats different.

all i am hoping for is that if this goes through, the final report will name all those who took money, how much, and what for. not just harb.

Thumb geha 08 February 2013, 09:15

they will not reveal all the names, rather they are using this to try to discredit m14 ahead of the elections. do you seriously think they will disclose how much went to the pockets of Berri?
they tried to kill Harb, and they failed. now they try to discredit him with false accusations. all that to clear the way for the son in law to be elected.

Thumb LEBhasNOhope 08 February 2013, 17:12

"do you seriously think they will disclose how much went to the pockets of Berri"
"now they try to discredit him with false accusations"
how did you get that geha is implicitly admitting that m14 is corrupted from that?

Thumb LEBhasNOhope 08 February 2013, 17:13

you should be their official spokesman. what a joke!

Thumb LEBhasNOhope 08 February 2013, 17:50

Being a good judge of character isn’t your strong suit, is it?

Thumb ado.australia 08 February 2013, 18:37

This scandal involves the Syrian occupation forces and their collaberators in Lebanon. Where it leads, we don't know. It was suddenly stopped mid investigation because too many Syrians were implicated... Boutros Harb, for those who can't remember back more than 7 years, was the Syrian 1st choice to replace Presidant Emile lahoud. He was first elected as an mp when all christains boycotted the elections after the civil war ended. The free syrian terrorist army's hero, ex-vice Presidant of Syria, Khaddam, the godfather of syrian occupation and rapist of Lebanon is rumoured to of made millions of dollars on this scandal alone. Inshallah more will come of this finacial rape of Lebanon.

Thumb LEBhasNOhope 08 February 2013, 20:20

your words are mumbled. can't really understand you. I'll wait till Tuesday to see if you can sneak out a word or two while claoun has his mouth open.

Thumb LEBhasNOhope 08 February 2013, 21:14

momo- maybe one day I will grow up to be just like you. I mean it is such a great accomplishment when you were able to count all the way up to 20 using your fingers and toes. I could only hope to get to be that smart someday. Your parents must so proud.

Thumb LEBhasNOhope 08 February 2013, 21:28

I doubt that! If I can't win you or Moliere then I’m afraid it's hopeless for me. However, there is still a chance for you.

Thumb LEBhasNOhope 08 February 2013, 21:38

I do. Just ask your moma!

Thumb LEBhasNOhope 08 February 2013, 21:48

like I said. Being a good judge of character isn’t your strong suit.

Thumb LEBhasNOhope 08 February 2013, 21:58

weak!

Thumb LEBhasNOhope 08 February 2013, 22:21

So, a thought crossed your mind? Must have been a long and lonely
journey

Thumb LEBhasNOhope 08 February 2013, 22:25

I'd like to leave you with one thought...but I'm not sure you have
anywhere to put it!

Default-user-icon zozo (Guest) 08 February 2013, 11:06

@Karim

The Circus called...

Missing rafehh 08 February 2013, 11:31

Time to get rid of Madi. We have now a politicized and personalized legal process. Is this guy for real?

Missing peace 08 February 2013, 11:35

seems this judge is more into politics than in the search of objective justice... what next? a talk show? oprah winfrey?

Missing samiam 08 February 2013, 12:05

yeah--pretty obvious the judicial process is politicized as well as everything else in this country. So what happened to the case of the guys that sold all that bad meat to the restaurants and groceries last year? How about the assisinations of figures? Why haven't they been brought to at least trial?

Oh, do we really have to answer that or is the answer in plain sight?

Missing samiam 08 February 2013, 16:30

No offense dude, but I have dealt with lawyers and judges alike and if any on them saw the actions of Madi a few days ago and then go after a case from 9 years ago, it shows bias and any competent judicial system would throw out the prosecutor and put in another one.

This raises too many flags of bias and lack of partiality considering what cases are being tried and which ones aren't.

Missing billabash 08 February 2013, 12:58

It is funny how picky they get when they are allegedly trying to fight "corruption". If they want to fight all the corruption they should also trial the FPM MPs such as Gebran Bassil and Nicolas Sehnaoui as well as Hizballah scams such as the fraud medicine as well as the captagon issue for example.

However Boutrous Harb had nothing to do with the issue. And this is clearly a prooaganda for M8.

Thumb jcamerican 08 February 2013, 13:05

The problem in Lebanon, they are all dirty. Each one of you want to defend his affiliation. If the judge has a case let it be. I am sure M14 has judges too, let them chase their cases.

Missing allouchi 08 February 2013, 14:47

All corruptions should be exposed and the guilty punished, but it is really obvious that this so called Judge Hatem Madi is using his position politically and for revenge...we are all in grave danger when our judiciary is politicized...

Default-user-icon zozo (Guest) 08 February 2013, 14:50

Everyone is corrupt...Not just one side... Grow up people.

Default-user-icon ghassan dafshoush (Guest) 08 February 2013, 16:44

Harb: no worries my friends. My Syrian occupier buddies will rescue me as they always have.

Thumb LEBhasNOhope 08 February 2013, 17:57

hahaha- yeah Madi wants justice so badly that he waited 9 years and is using it as a second attempt at intimidating the victim. However, the victim, Boutros Harb, refuses to be a victim and is fighting back. I can't wait until this turns into a huge snowball effect and people start rolling on each other.
HULK SMASH!

Thumb LEBhasNOhope 08 February 2013, 18:44

They tried to kill Boutros so his seat can go to Claoun (same scenario with Pierre RIP) and failed. Now they are trying a smear campaign. These are the same people that circulated pamphlets insinuating that a terrorist attack survivor and an amputee is a half a person. If there is any sense of justice in this world, they will fail miserably this time.

Thumb LEBhasNOhope 08 February 2013, 20:22

Yawn. You should go make friends with Karim.

Thumb LEBhasNOhope 08 February 2013, 21:57

What happened to ignoring me? My brain got mad me when it found out I was suing it for non-support!
I finally took your advice.

Thumb LEBhasNOhope 08 February 2013, 22:05

you thought you were the only one having fun and I'm the idiot? whatever you have to tell yourself

Thumb LEBhasNOhope 08 February 2013, 22:24

I do have to admit. I was a bit slow and didn't catch on nearly as fast as a couple of other commentators. So I do desrve being called an idiot.

Default-user-icon foulen (Guest) 09 February 2013, 07:20

Guys wake up! They are both corrupt! It has become a common practice that when our esteemed politicians are accused of crime they dont care to defend themeselves anymore! They just accuse their opponents of more crimes. The truth is a criminal is a criminal. One crime is enough. The sad part is we got accustomed to follow the less criminal. Well i think we deserve more. Wed
eserve to have someone clean to represent us. And to both 14 march and 8march politicians i say: you are all criminals you deserve to be in prison!