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Chief witness in Hariri probe says story false, was bribed

[JURIST] Hosam Taher Hosam, a Syrian witness who told the UN committee [UN materials] investigating the death of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri [JURIST news archive] that Syrian and Lebanese officials had a hand in the February 14 assassination said Monday that his testimony was false and that he was bribed by Hariri's son. Hosam, a barber who says he was formerly an agent for Syrian and Lebanese intelligence in Lebanon, held a news conference Monday and said that an interim report [text] by chief UN investigator Detlev Mehlis, a German prosecutor, to the UN Security Council [official website] "depended on [Hosam's] testimony by as much as 40 percent" and that Hariri's son, Saad, was convinced without proof that Damascus was behind his father's death. A spokesman for Hariri called Hosam's claims "baseless" and said that no one in the Hariri family had ever met or been in contact with Hosam. Reuters has more.

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