Lebanon a ‘looted’ state proclaims Patriarch Rai

File photo of Patriarch Bechara Boutros Rai in a Sunday sermon.

Cardinal Beshara al-Ra the Chrisitian Maronite Patriarch urged the country in his Easter message on Saturday to focus on social justice, preserve the life savings of Lebanese in the banks and recover the State’s “looted” funds, National News Agency reported.

“We hope the government would carry out the required reforms in accordance with social justice, impose taxes consistent with citizens’ incomes and collect these taxes from everyone while preserving the citizens’ money in banks,” said Rai.

He pointed out that Lebanon is a state whose funds have been “looted,” voicing calls to restore the public funds and “preserve the life savings of Lebanese in banks.”

Rahi’s comments come amid reports claiming that Lebanese banks could impose a haircut, which would reduce the deposits or turn them into long-term bonds of bankrupt banks , as the country grapples with an unprecedented economic crisis.

Due to an acute liquidity crisis, banks have since September increasingly been restricting access to dollars and have halted money transfers abroad but at the same time several politicians and bank owners reportedly wired billions of dollars to foreign banks to hide their wealth .


Similarly former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Friday slammed the government over a draft program for tackling the country’s crippling financial crisis, saying it appeared on course for an “economic suicide plan”.
The draft that surfaced this week included a proposal for a “a transitory exceptional contribution from large depositors” as part of measures to address huge losses in the financial system, among other politically difficult measures.

“Since the formation of this government, it has been promising the Lebanese and the world an economic rescue plan. Based on this, we decided to give it a grace period, before judging the promised plan. But it seems that it is heading towards an economic suicidal plan, based on the confiscation of the money of the Lebanese deposited in the banks,” said Hariri in his tweet Friday.


Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea said on Saturday that reform in Lebanon is a “hopeless” case as long as “the trio” parties continue to dominate the country’s authority, a possible reference to the Iranian backed Hezbollah militant group , president Michel Aoun’s FPM and Speaker Nabih Berri’s Amal Movement .

“As long as the trio (political parties) are in control of the authority in Lebanon, there is no hope for any reform or any actual rescue plan,” said Geagea in a statement, without naming the parties in the trio.