Youssef Diab wrote in the Middle East:
The Lebanese judicial and security services intensified their investigations the day after they seized nine million US dollars with Turkish and Syrian people coming to Lebanon on board two private planes. Investigations focus on the source of these funds, how to get them out of Turkey and their use in Lebanon, in light of conflicts in the statements of the detainees who claimed that the money is allocated to work in the field of money exchange, which necessitated the expansion of interrogations after fears that the money could be used in security areas.
In a press statement, Lebanese Interior Minister Mohamed Fahmy revealed, “The arrest of four people coming from Turkey on a private plane, two Turks and two Syrians, who were transporting an amount of four million dollars, and they declared that they have an exchange company.” Fahmy said: “We do not know whether these funds are for smuggling and manipulation with the dollar or to fuel violent movements in the Lebanese street,” noting that there are “instructions arriving from Turkey through the application of (WhatsApp) to some of the parties to the popular movement.” Fahmy asked: “What did they bring to Lebanon with these funds?”
In light of the conflicting information, the discriminatory Attorney General, Judge Ghassan Aouidat, instructed the security services to expand the investigation with the arrested persons, to verify the source of the funds and “the point of their use in the Lebanese interior.” A judicial reference to Asharq Al-Awsat revealed that the arrested persons claimed that these funds were brought in favor of two large companies specializing in transferring money between Lebanon and abroad, one of which belongs to a well-known businessman, but after listening to the testimonies of the officials of the two companies, it was found that the money did not belong to them, and this raised suspicions About her destination.
The judicial authority pointed out that “what arouses attention is the recruitment of nine million in two installments and via two private planes from Turkey to Beirut, where the carriers of these funds claimed that they originated in the gold trade in Turkey, knowing that the Turkish authorities prevent the exit of cash money from their lands in any way, This reinforces fears that it will have other goals, including financing groups on Lebanese soil. ”
During the past two weeks, the security services arrested more than twenty people who participated in the riots in central Beirut, and destroyed commercial stores and public and private property. Sources following up on the investigations stated that a number of the detainees “confessed to accepting some money to carry out such moves.” They reported that the source of this money is a Lebanese person residing in Istanbul, Turkey.
These developments are accompanied by the infusion of information warning of serious security implications, which may be witnessed in several Lebanese regions, especially in the north. However, a security source, in a statement to Asharq Al-Awsat, reduced the reliability of this information, especially with regard to building training camps for groups being funded from Turkey. But he said, “The security services take all this information that they seriously receive and track them accurately, especially since the Lebanese scene is at this stage fertile ground for any external interference in Lebanese affairs.” The source stressed that “the difficult economic conditions and the worsening social and living situation may attract many Lebanese youth to engage in any security project in exchange for receiving money, especially if these funds are in hard currency.” The same source assured that “the security situation is well maintained in northern Lebanon and in the Bekaa, as in the rest of the Lebanese regions.”
Source: Middle East