BEIRUT

Lebanon News

Source: Shaaban recording evidence of criminal involvement

Former Lebanese Cabinet minister Michel Samaha. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: Statements captured on former MP Michel Samaha’s recording device are evidence of criminal involvement of Bashar Assad’s political adviser in the case of plotting terror attacks in Lebanon, a high-level security source said Monday.

“Bouthaina Shaaban’s involvement in the Samaha case is confirmed,” the source told The Daily Star.

“The recordings confirm Bouthaina Shaaban had knowledge of Samaha’s security and political activity as well as the tasks that were assigned to him,” the source added. He spoke on condition of anonymity.

“He would call her ‘our magnificent’ and she would speak to him in a commanding manner, [ordering] him to carry out the duties assigned to him, including the bombings,” the source said.

He said the recordings show that Samaha was “directly linked” to Shaaban’s office.

Future Movement MP Samir Jisr, in comments to Future TV Monday, said there were documents that confirmed Shaaban’s was involved in the Samaha case and that this implicated Syria.

“Documents confirm Shaaban’s involvement in the Samaha case, and this, if anything, implicates Syria as a government in this matter,” Jisr said Monday.

Shaaban dismissed Sunday reports of her involvement in the Samaha case.

Sources close to Bouthaina Shaaban quoted her as saying that what is happening in Lebanon is no more than political bickering and is not worth responding to or commenting on.

An analysis of a phone conversation between Shaaban and Samaha, who is close to Assad, was referred to Lebanon’s first military investigative judge over the weekend.

“Military Prosecutor Judge Saqr Saqr referred to First Military Investigative Judge Riad Abu Ghayda an analysis report [from the Internal Security Forces Information Branch] of a mobile phone conversation that reveals Samaha was in direct contact with Shaaban,” a judicial source told The Daily Star.

According to the report, the source added, the phone conversation was made while Samaha was in Syria.

Following his arrest, Samaha confessed he had brought back to Lebanon explosives following a visit to Syria.

Samaha, who has maintained close ties with the Syrian regime for decades, was charged in August with transporting explosives from Syria into Lebanon to use them in terrorist attacks aimed at assassinating religious and political figures.

He has confessed to plotting bomb attacks with head of Syria’s Intelligence Maj. Gen. Ali Mamlouk and his assistant, Maj. Gen. Adnan, at the behest of Assad.

 

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