Bifani ridiculed the GOL cronyism involved in the USD 215 million court verdict that MP Nicholas Fattoush, a member of the Future Bloc, received in December 2005 for the illegal two-year closure of his family's sand and rock quarry. Bifani asked how Fattoush's company could be granted USD 215 million when his company has never reported any profits to the state during its operation and questioned how judges managed to return a verdict on Fattoush's suit in only eight months when many other business cases had languished for years. Bifani wanted to know why the judges involved in the case didn\'t ask for the Ministry of Finance's views before issuing such a large verdict. Bifani said that Fattoush had received a quick and substantial verdict because of his political connections and hinted that PM Siniora had influence with the judges. He asked how the GOL could expect the ordinary taxpayer to pay more in Value Added Taxes (VAT) when scandals such as this are still widespread.
US embassy cable - 06BEIRUT527 - MGLE01: VEIWS OF A HIGH-LEVEL GOL SKEPTIC OF THE ECONOMIC REFORM EFFORT