BEIRUT

Lebanon News

Court decision opens way for LBC ownership trial

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea speaks during a press conference in Maarab, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012. (The Daily Star/Aldo Ayoub, HO)

BEIRUT: The Court of Cassation overruled Wednesday the dismissal of an indictment accusing LBCI owner Pierre Daher of fraud in the station’s ownership battle with Lebanese Forces. The trial can now begin based on that indictment.

Headed by Judge Joseph Samaha and member counselors, the court accepted the original indictment issued by the Beirut investigating magistrate in October of 2010 accusing Daher of embezzlement, fraud and abuse of trust in assuming control over the station.

The LF filed suit in November 2007 against Daher in an ownership dispute – the channel was established by the then-militia in 1985 during the Lebanese Civil War.

The indictment also accused Daher of selling the station and dividing it into smaller companies.

Daher has maintained that LF leader Samir Geagea forgot he sold him LBC in 1992 for $5 million after the LF’s relationship with state authorities had begun to deteriorate, making it impossible for the LF to obtain a license to operate a television station.

Daher’s lawyers challenged the indictment at the Beirut Prosecutor’s office who accepted it earlier this year, citing the fact that the statute of limitations had passed, apparently due to the transfer of the station in the early 1990s from LF control.

The decision prompted the party to challenge the prosecutor’s decision. The case was then referred to the Appeals Court.

 

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