Former Minister Barsoumian Cleared of All Charges

Majority of Lebanon’s Parliament Votes to Drop All Charges against Former Oil Minister

BEIRUT (Daily Star)–In its second legislative session since being handed a mandate–Lebanon’s parliament voted to drop all charges against Shahe Barsoumian–stemming from a 1999 case against him–which was leveled by an oil trading company.

The then Oil Minister of Lebanon–Barsoumian was accused of selling crude oil reserves as oil derivatives for personal gain.

But during Tuesday’s session–94 out of 128 members of Lebanon’s parliament discussed the case against Barsoumian in a closed-door session and–in a secret ballot–voted to drop all charges.

Barsoumian–who served twice between 1995 and 1998 under former Premier Rafik Hariri–had been in jail awaiting trial–after 22 denials of requests for bail.

After the presiding judge rejected the case in December 2002–it was refereed to a higher council for prosecution of presidents and ministers.

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