Former finance minister Ali Hassan Khalil snapped back Thursday at Judicial Investigator Judge Fadi Sawan after the latter charged him with negligence in the ongoing probe into the devastating August 4 explosion at Beirut’s port.
Slamming what he called Sawan’s “claims,” Khalil announced in a tweet that he has always been “under the law and its norms.”
“We have confidence in ourselves and in our practice of our responsibility,” he added.
“We are surprised by the contradictory stance of the judicial investigator which has violated the constitution and the law,” Khalil went on to say.
“As a (former) finance minister, I had no role in this case. The investigation minutes contain the proof,” the ex-minister added, noting that he will issue a detailed response to “unveil all backgrounds and facts.”
Earlier in the day, Sawan had pressed charges against caretaker PM Hassan Diab as well as against Khalil and two former public works ministers — Ghazi Zoaiter and Youssef Fenianos.
The four are the most senior individuals to be indicted so far in the investigation, which is being conducted in secrecy. And though it is too early to predict whether any of the four would end up on trial, the development is significant in Lebanon, where a culture of impunity has prevailed for decades, including among the entrenched political elites.