Lebanese-French businessman Takieddine was released but banned from traveling

Lebanon on Monday released a Lebanese-French businessman who has been on the run from French authorities since June, but banned him from traveling pending investigation, a Lebanese legal source said.

Lebanese security forces arrested Ziad Takieddine last week at the request of Interpol.

Prosecutor Ghassan Oueidat on Monday released the 70-year-old under judicial supervision after “determining his place of residence, confiscating his passport and banning him from leaving Lebanese territory,” the source told AFP.

Takieddine fled to Beirut in June, when a French court sentenced him to five years in prison in a case involving millions of euros in kickbacks from arms sales to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, signed in 1994.

Lebanon would soon demand that France provide Takieddine’s legal documents so that it can investigate charges against him, the legal source said.

If the charges were found to be justified, he could be tried in Lebanon as a Lebanese citizen, the source added.

A French legal source told AFP he was skeptical of the possibility of extradition to France.

“France and Lebanon have not concluded an extradition agreement and Lebanon is not extraditing its citizens. The procedure could end there very quickly,” the source said.

Takieddine was also once the main prosecutor in an investigation into suspected Libyan funding of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign.

The businessman was investigated at the end of 2016 after he told the media that he had delivered millions of euros in cash from the Libyan dictator Moamer Gadhafi.

Sarkozy was given a break last month when Takieddine suddenly withdrew his claim.

A legal source in France denied Takieddine’s latest arrest was linked to the Sarkozy affair and declined to provide further details.

Takieddine spent two weeks in prison in Lebanon until November 10 as part of a disagreement with his former lawyer Hani Mourad and was later released.

A Lebanese legal source who asked to remain anonymous said Takieddine was being prosecuted in a number of economic cases in Lebanon, including allegations of libel, fraud and forgery.

(AFP)