BEIRUT (AFP) – Lebanon will ask Brazil to extradite Rana Abdul Rahim Qoleilat, a Lebanese women suspected of having financed last year’s assassination of ex-premier Rafiq Hariri.
Qoleilat, 39, was arrested in her hotel room in Sao Paulo, Brazil on an Interpol warrant related to bank fraud accusations.
Brazilian Ambassador Eduardo de Seixas said after meeting Wednesday with Foreign Minister Fawzi Sallouk that while a 2002 extradition treaty had not been ratified by either state, “this does not constitute an obstacle.”
A UN commission investigating Hariri’s murder suspects Qoleilat of providing financial help, directly or indirectly, to the former premier’s assassins.
Qoleilat is a former top executive at Lebanon’s Al-Madina Bank, which collapsed in 2003 in one of the country’s biggest banking scandals.
She fled the country after being released from jail.
At the time of her arrest, she was carrying a British passport, with the name Rana Klailat, issued by the British embassy in Beirut, according to a copy shown on Brazil’s Globo television.
Officials said she tried to bribe police sent to arrest her, telling them that she had as much as 200,000 dollars in cash. She was jailed for attempted bribery.
Hariri was killed along with 20 other people in a massive bomb blast in Beirut in February 2005.
UN officials have said intelligence agents from Syria — the longtime powerbroker in the country — are a prime suspect in the assassination.
Qoleilat is suspected of having financed Roustom Ghazaleh, the former head of Syrian military intelligence in Lebanon, as well as Lebanese intelligence services.