Tuesday, September 8, 2009

'Lebanon's Madoff' bankrupted after bouncing $200,000 cheque to Hizbollah

Businessman promised customers a 40 per cent return on their investment

By Robert Fisk in Beirut

"Everyone trusted Salah Ezzedine. A billionaire Shia Muslim businessman and financier from southern Lebanon, he organised pilgrimages to Mecca, ran a major Beirut publishing house and a children's television station, held major investments in east European oil and iron conglomerates, and – much more to the point – was a close personal friend of very senior leaders of the Hizbollah. Indeed, many members of the world's most powerful and successful guerrilla movement, along with the families of their "martyrs" in the war against Israel, placed both their faith and their inheritance in Mr Ezzedine's hands.

To the deep embarrassment of the Iranian-financed and Iranian-armed militia, however, Mr Ezzedine turns out to be an "Abu Madoff"........"

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