BEIRUT: Investigative Judge Ghassan Oueidat Tuesday recommended a three-year sentence for a prominent Druze businessman on charges of fraud and breach of trust.
However, the judge found Bahij Abu Hamzeh innocent on charges of forging documents and using such documents and impersonation, a judicial source told The Daily Star.
The charges were based on a lawsuit filed by Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt and the Safa football team, which is sponsored by the Druze leader.
The lawsuits filed by the football team accuse Abu Hamzeh of a breach of trust and embezzlement. Jumblatt, however, accuses him and Hussein Bdeir, a Shiite businessman, of selling him a piece of land that did not actually exist.
Abu Hamzeh, who has served as the head of Safa’s board of trustees, ran the PSP chief’s real estate endeavors and managed his private properties and was the former head of the Association of Oil Importing Companies.
Ties between Abu Hamzeh and Jumblatt deteriorated in recent months, with the Druze leader relieving Abu Hamzeh of his duties after around 30 years of service. Abu Hamzeh also recently resigned from his post as the head of Safa’s board of trustees.
In his decision, Oueidat said Abu Hamzeh, the husband of a popular talk show host, deposited $5 million belonging to the football team in his personal account.
He also referred the case to a criminal judge in Beirut for trial.