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Key Suspect in Finance Ministry Graft Case Killed

December 7, 1996

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) _ A Lebanese finance official suspected in a $2.5 million embezzlement case has been killed, a prosecutor said Saturday.

Prosecutor-General Adnan Addoum said Raafat Suleiman was shot in September, according to confessions from others involved in the scheme.

The case has underlined the corruption that has long plagued Lebanon’s civil service and angered Lebanese citizens burdened with rising taxes and duties imposed by the Finance Ministry.

Suleiman, a Finance Ministry treasurer, has been missing since Sept. 25. He and another employee, Farid Moussali, were suspected of passing forged fiscal stamps through the ministry’s bureaucracy and pocketing the money.

Fiscal stamps are extensively used in Lebanon for a wide variety of government transactions.

Moussali was killed last month in a shootout with security agents trying to arrest him.

Newspapers reported Suleiman was killed over the distribution of the embezzled money.

A Syrian arrested last month in the embezzlement case confessed Friday night to his role in Suleiman’s killing, the prosecutor-general said. Addoum said investigators were traveling to Ghosta north of Beirut, where he is believed to have been buried.

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