MP Paula Yacoubian Monday accused the Free Patriotic Movement of organizing an online smear campaign against her, in a televised news conference she held to discuss corruption.
Yacoubian said the Sabaa Party, which recently kicked her out, had given the FPM a video of her driver suggesting she had been misusing public funds. She claimed that the FPM spread the video online earlier in March.
During the conference, Yacoubian shared security footage from a restaurant showing her driver sitting down with a member of the Sabaa Party. The footage showed the Sabaa Party member filming his conversation with the driver on his phone. The phone video appeared to be the same one that the FPM had allegedly circulated earlier. In it, the driver said Yacoubian was wealthy and owned multiple houses outside Lebanon, implying that the MP had been misusing public funds.
Yacoubian rejected the claims, saying she never had access to public funds and that the online campaign was in retaliation for her previous accusations of corruption against Foreign Minister and FPM leader Gebran Bassil.
Bassil subsequently filed a lawsuit against Yacoubian on Feb. 25, accusing her of slander and describing her comments as impermissible.
Yacoubian had accused Bassil of corruption during an interview in February on the TV program Sar al-Waqt (“It’s About Time”), alluding to Bassil’s involvement in contracting Karadeniz-owned power barges to reduce Lebanon’s electricity deficit.
“The insistence on one group being given the Energy Ministry … for 10 years is suspicious,” she said. Bassil’s FPM has held the Energy Ministry portfolio since 2009.