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Macron urged to freeze assets of Lebanon economists, politicians

French President, Emmanuel Macron in Paris, France on 17 March 2021. [Julien Mattia - Anadolu Agency]
French President, Emmanuel Macron in Paris, France on 17 March 2021. [Julien Mattia - Anadolu Agency]

Lebanese figures have called on French President Emmanuel Macron to freeze the assets of Lebanese economists and politicians in French banks in order to put pressure on them to form a government, news agencies reported on Tuesday.

In a letter, the Lebanese figures referred to the economists and politicians as a "political-economic mafia" which has plunged Lebanon into crisis and misery.

This came as Macron called for radical reforms in Lebanon following the deadly Beirut port blast in August.

Macron should issue instructions "with a view to implementing the legal mechanism for freezing assets of doubtful origin held in France by Lebanese political and economic leaders," the letter published in France's Le Monde daily said.

More than 100 Lebanese civil society figures signed the letter which said that a "political-economic mafia is responsible for the misery, hunger and insecurity from which more and more Lebanese suffer."

"This endemic corruption on a grand scale has scandalously enriched Lebanese political leaders" by emptying the treasury and embezzling aid sent after the civil war, the letter added.

Lawyers, doctors, journalists and activists, including prominent political scientist Karim Emile Bitar, former Lebanese culture minister and UN Libya envoy Ghassan Salame and former MP and TV host Paula Yacoubian signed the letter.

Lebanon's Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri and President Michel Aoun again failed last month to agree on a new government after months of deadlock, as the country sinks deeper into an economic crisis.

READ: Lebanon's political stalemate may lead to civil war

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