BEIRUT: Lebanese police raided the National Social Security Fund in Beirut Saturday, seizing potentially incriminating documents linked to an ongoing embezzlement probe, a judicial source said.
The NSSF, however, denied its offices in the Beirut neighborhood of Wata Msaitbeh had been raided and said the incident was related to a “violation committed by a citizen” involved in a NSSF transaction.
The judicial source said the operation by the Internal Security Forces’ Information Branch targeted the NSSF headquarters and surrounding buildings that are linked with the state-run institution.
The raid came after authorities were alerted to a possible attempt to destroy NSSF documents that could be used in an ongoing embezzlement probe by Lebanon’s Financial Prosecutor, the source added.
A security source said eight people, including staff members, were detained in the raid, including one who had apparently plotted with NSSF employees to burn documents.
The judicial source said during the raid police successfully retrieved the documents that will be handed over to Lebanon’s judiciary.
Labor Minister Sejaan Azzi told Al-Jadeed television that this was not the first time that the Information Branch had entered the NSSF building this week.
"They were there four days ago conducting secret investigations," the minister said.
The NSSF, however, denied that its premises had been raided, saying security forces had only deployed in buildings “near the NSSF.”
“The deployment of security forces targeted some offices in front of the [NSSF] building and it is not true that the [NSSF] was raided,” it said.
The Fund also said the measures by the security forces were linked to the violations of a citizen involved in a NSSF transaction.
“We have been previously notified about the measures taken by the authorities to unveil those who are involved and their accomplices,” the statement said.