Komodo on the loose
Residents of Rabieh in Metn area were on high alert after witnesses spotted a long creature crawling in the bushes. The story reached the news so quickly in a form of paranoia and fear without ever really seeing it again. Minister of Interior at that time, Elias El Murr personally launched a mission to capture the Komodo, a dragon lizard who left many footprints in the grass surrounding residential areas. A French zoologist asked for $ 20,000 to capture the komodo but his request was turned down and the mission was given to the commander of civil defense, Chehab Rai (close to El Murr), who promised to slay the dragon just like Saint Georges did in a mythology 2,000 years ago (sic). Many believed it was a staged story by the minister himself, and the tale ended there. (Telegraph – September 28, 2003)
Fire at Ministry of Finance
In 1998 a massive fire erupted in the archives room of the Lebanese ministry of finance, destroying many files and documents of the ministry from 1992 till 1998. That year was the last of late PM Rafiq Hariri as minister of finance before the arrival of Fouad Seniora. Many speculations of an intentional fire were circulated to cover suspicious schemes, without really making it to the justice or to the public due to the Syrian takeover at that time.
Abduction of Joseph Sader
Joseph Sader, a veteran IT manager at MEA was abducted on February 12, 2009 while walking to work at Beirut International Airport. Witnesses present there saw a black van with two SUV blocking the road before grabbing Sader and fleeing the scene. The kidnapping happened in broad daylight few meters away from a Lebanese army checkpoint. Soon after, a large operation of army intelligence and national security uncovered a vast network of Lebanese spies in relation with the Israeli Mossad. Sophisticated material was confiscated; more than 40 individuals were arrested including high ranked officers while other managed to flee Lebanon on time. It appeared that Sader’s kidnapping was orchestrated by Lebanese intelligence with the help of Hezbollah, whereas his confessions were key in the dismantling of the spying network. Until this day, Joseph Sader is nowhere to be found.
At the end of 2002 and prior to the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, many prominent Lebanese figures, politicians and businessmen, flew several times to Baghdad and came back with large suitcases. Many names were linked to the transfer of Saddam Hussein’s money out of Iraq into safe locations in Lebanon such as Amine Gemayel, Emile Emile Lahoud, Farid Al-Khazen and Karim Pakradoni. What started as rumors and false allegations turned to have something true when in November 2014, a report by a local newspaper stated the existence of several suitcases hidden in a basement belonging to a well known politician of Mount Lebanon. With no further details.
Death of Jean Ghanem & Mike Nassar
January 14, 2002: Former MP Jean Ghanem died two weeks after a severe car accident that occurred meters away from his residence and close to where was assassinated Elie Hobeika in Hazmieh area. His wife was also injured but was restricted from any public appearance or media investigation. As a doctor, Jean Ghanem was a close ally, business partner and war confidante of late Elias Hobeika who at the funeral insisted that the latter’s death was not accidental. Two days prior, unknown people broke into his medical cabinet and stole his personal belongings and computer.
January 24, 2002: Elias Hobeika was assassinated in Hazmieh under the media coverage of being a key witness and a threat to Israel by involving Ariel Sharon in the massacres of Sabra & Chatila.
March 7, 2002: Mike Nassar along with his wife was victim of a professional assassin in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Their car tires were deliberately punctured on a highway, and after stopping at a gas station a masked gunman shot them “execution-style” with a silencer pistol. Mike Nassar, a former Lebanese Forces member and wealthy businessman had fled to Brazil after the assassinations of Jean Ghanem and Elie Hobeika.
He was the cousin of Antoine Lahad head of SLA and was the third largest shareholder in Solidere real estate after Rafiq Hariri and Nabil Boustany with an estimated fortune of $ 100 million. Mike Nassar was also the main keeper of LF “caisse nationale” money that was distributed among trustworthy individuals after the party was banned in 1994.
Nevertheless, some doubt that the deaths of Jean Ghanem, Elie Hobeika and Mike Nassar were linked to Hobeika’s testimonial in La Haye against Ariel Sharon, but it was more linked to a fraudulent scheme involving key figures of the world organized mafia.