Businessman Ziad Takieddine arrested in Lebanon

Franco-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine, a former prosecution witness against former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, was arrested following a notice issued by Interpol. (File/AFP)
Franco-Lebanese businessman Ziad Takieddine, a former prosecution witness against former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, was arrested following a notice issued by Interpol. (File/AFP)
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Updated 04 December 2020

Businessman Ziad Takieddine arrested in Lebanon

Businessman Ziad Takieddine arrested in Lebanon
  • Takieddine is wanted over involvement in corruption and funding Sarkozy’s campaign
  • Takieddine had already been held for 10 days after Interpol telegram to Lebanese judiciary

BEIRUT: The Information Division of the Lebanese Internal Security arrested 70-year-old Lebanese French businessman Ziad Takieddine on Friday after receiving a telegram from Interpol.

The telegram to the Lebanese Public Prosecution Office included an arrest warrant issued by French authorities for Takieddine’s involvement in corruption and in financing the campaign of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Takieddine has been sentenced by a French court to five years in prison.

A judiciary source confirmed Takieddine’s arrest to Agence France Press (AFP) without revealing details.

Haitham Ezzo, a former lawyer for Takieddine, told Arab News that this was the second time the businessman has been arrested since returning to Lebanon.

“Takieddine was arrested by Saida’s judiciary brigade on November 13 because of a case that has nothing to do with the French cases. Takieddine ran away from France before a verdict was issued against him, as he is wanted in a case related to former President Nicolas Sarkozy. He was arrested by the Lebanese judiciary based on a case of fraud filed by another lawyer against him, and he was held for 10 days. As his lawyers, we were able to bail him out,” he said.

Ezzo noted that Takieddine was staying in Beirut before and after his first arrest, and added that he was no longer representing the businessman because, following his release from prison three weeks ago, “we asked him to pay our dues which he did not do, so we chose to deliver him a warning, and we have nothing to do with his second arrest.”

Takieddine belongs to a Druze family from Baakleen of the Chouf district in Mount Lebanon. He is a man with a wide network of international connections and had reportedly been a broker in numerous international arms deals. He has been described by UK newspaper The Daily Telegraph as an arms dealer.

Judiciary sources told Arab News that Takieddine has “many cases” filed against him in Lebanon and abroad.


Yemen’s government vows to mitigate effects of Houthi terrorism designation

Yemen’s government vows to mitigate effects of Houthi terrorism designation
A military vehicle is stationed on the tarmac of Yemen’s Aden airport. Yemen says the Stockholm Agreement has failed to bring peace to the country. (File/AFP)
Updated 18 January 2021

Yemen’s government vows to mitigate effects of Houthi terrorism designation

Yemen’s government vows to mitigate effects of Houthi terrorism designation
  • International community urged not to surrender to ‘blackmailing and intimidation’ 
  • Stockholm Agreement has failed to bring peace, Yemen PM said

AL-MUKALLA: Yemen’s prime minister has vowed to address any impact on humanitarian assistance or the remittances of citizens abroad following the US move to designate the Iran-backed Houthis as a terrorist organization.

Maeen Abdul Malik Saeed also urged the international community not to surrender to “Houthi blackmailing” and intimidation.
Saeed defended his government’s strong support of the designation during a virtual interview with foreign journalists sponsored by the Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies.
He said that his government had formed a committee to handle any effects on the delivery of humanitarian assistance inside Houthi-controlled areas and the remittances of Yemenis abroad.
“We are determined to prevent any impact of the decision on the Yemenis. We have formed a committee to mitigate effects of the decision,” he said.
When the US announced its intention to designate the Houthi movement as a terrorist organization last week, Yemen’s government quickly urged the US administration to put the decision in place, predicting it would stop Houthi crimes and their looting of humanitarian assistance, and would smoothe the way for peace.
Referring to the impact of the US designation on peace talks between the Yemeni government and the Houthis, Saeed said that the decision would not undermine peace efforts. He said that the Houthis would be accepted as part of the Yemeni political and social spectrum when they abandoned hard-line ideologies and embraced equality and justice.

The Yemeni government agreed to go to Stockholm for reaching a solution to stop fighting and saving the city. This model has failed.

Maeen Abdul Malik Saeed, Yemen’s prime minister

“This is an important pressure card on them and a real definition of them,” he said, adding that the Yemenis would not allow the Houthi movement to rule them.
“Yemen would not be ruled by a racist and terrorist group,” he said.
Formed under the Riyadh Agreement, Yemen’s new government’s ministers narrowly escaped death on Dec. 30 when three precision-guided missiles ripped through Aden airport shortly after their plane touched down.
The government accused the Houthis of staging the attack, saying that missile fragments collected from the airport showed that they were similar to missiles that targeted Marib city in the past.
The prime minister said that the Yemeni government had offered many concessions to reach an agreement to end the war. It had agreed to engage in direct talks with the Houthis in Stockholm in 2018 despite the fact that the Yemeni government forces were about to seize control of the Red Sea city of Hodeidah. However, the Stockholm Agreement had failed to bring peace to Yemen, he said.
“The government forces were about to capture the city within five days maximum. The Yemeni government agreed to go to Stockholm for reaching a solution to stop fighting and saving the city. This model has failed,” Saeed said.
In Riyadh, Yemen’s president Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi on Friday appointed Ahmed Obeid bin Daghar, a former prime minister and a senior adviser to the president, as president of the Shoura Council.
Hadi also appointed Ahmed Ahmed Al-Mousai as the country’s new attorney general.
Fighting continues
Heavy fighting between Yemeni government forces and the Houthis broke out on Sunday for the third consecutive day in contested areas in the districts of Hays and Durihimi in the western province of Hodeidah. Official media said that dozens of Houthi rebels and several government troops were killed in the fighting and loyalists pushed back three assaults by Houthis in Durihimi district.
In neighboring Hays, the Joint Forces media said on Sunday that the Houthis hit government forces with heavy weapons before launching a ground attack in an attempt to seize control of new areas in the district.
The Houthis failed to make any gains and lost dozens of fighters along with several military vehicles that were burnt in the fighting, the same media outlets said. Heavy artillery shelling and land mines planted by the Houthis have killed more than 500 civilians since late 2018, local rights groups said.