The Price of Political Transparency by Marlene Sabeh

They say “no good deed goes unpunished”. In Gebran Bassil’s case, the deed goes punished, scrutinized, condemned, vilified, and denounced. Every positive and constructive step that Minister Bassil has taken so far, whether lifting financial secrecy off his personal accounts and the accounts of members of his Bloc or vindicating his name in court against a myriad of vicious attacks and allegations, failed to deter key politicians and thousands of their followers from continuing to politically assassinate him.

Moreover, when it was recently announced that Minister Bassil will be representing Lebanon at the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos, he was again bombarded with cruel attacks and baseless protests.

First, Gebran Bassil would be representing Lebanon in Davos as the caretaker Minister of Foreign Affairs. Second, the accusations of corruption and illicit deals against him have been totally cleared in the courts of Lebanon: All rumors, charges, and suits brought against him were either dismissed or refuted. There was no evidence whatsoever that he committed any of the cited offenses.

The following are the details of the cases (charges and outcome):

1-      Mr. Achraf Rifi falsely accused Minister Bassil of corruption. Outcome: Due to lack of lack of evidence, judgement (Number 2019/11) was rendered against Mr. Rifi in the amount of 15 million Liras (April 18, 2019).

2-      Mr. Joe Maalouf falsely accused Minister Bassil of owning: a plane, a $1 billion bank account, and real estate properties (during two episodes on his show). Outcome: Judgements (Numbers 2018/11 and 2019/8) against Mr. Maalouf in the amount of 10 million Liras (March 21, 2018 and May 3, 2019). The amount was settled by Mr. Maalouf.

3-      Mr. Charles Ayoub falsely accused Minister Bassil of corruption, illicit electricity deals, and receiving the Qatar donation. Outcome: Judgement (Number 2019/4577) against Mr. Ayoub who submitted a notarized statement committing not to repeat his offense (March 3, 2019).

4-      Ms. Paula Yacoubian falsely accused Minister Bassil of corruption. Outcome: In a civil suit, Ms. Yacoubian retracted her statement.

5-      Mr. Rashid Jumblatt appeared in court for defaming Minister Bassil. Outcome: Judgement (Number 2018/161) against Mr. Jumblatt in the amount of 10 million Liras (June 4, 2018).

6-      Mr. Firas Bou Hatoum appeared in court for defaming Minister Bassil. Outcome: Mr. Bou Hatoum officially apologized on several social media outlets (December 6, 2018).

7-      For defaming Minister Bassil, a legal notice was filed against Mr. Marwan Salam (December 12, 2019).

8-      Mr. Fidaa Itani appeared in court for defaming Minister Bassil. Outcome: Judgments (Numbers 2018/437, 2018/438, 2018/439, 2018/440, 2019/441. 2019/442, and 2018/443) against Mr. Itani in the amount of 5 million Liras each.


It seems there is a price for political transparency in Lebanon. It evidently intimidates politicians who are accustomed to concealing the truth about their corrupt activities. Therefore, they resort to slander and denigration; it’s called deflection.

But, the truth always prevails. Always.

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