Lebanese prosecutor summons central financial institution chief following Interpol warrant over corruption fees

BEIRUT — Lebanon’s public prosecutor Monday summoned the nation’s embattled central financial institution governor for questioning following a world arrest warrant issued in opposition to him in France over corruption fees, judicial officers mentioned.

Riad Salameh is to reply the summons later this week, though no particular date was given.

France, Germany and Luxembourg are investigating Salameh and his associates over myriad alleged monetary crimes, together with illicit enrichment and laundering of $330 million. A French investigative choose on Might 16 issued a world arrest warrant, or Interpol crimson discover, for the 72-year-old Salameh after he failed to indicate up in Paris for questioning.

Officers in Beirut mentioned that Public Prosecutor Ghassan Oueidat will formally ask France handy over the governor’s case recordsdata to determine on future measures in opposition to Salameh.

Requested whether or not it’s attainable handy the previous governor over to France, the officers — who spoke on situation of anonymity — mentioned Lebanon doesn’t hand its residents to international nations and the case will probably be overseen in Lebanon. They added that when Oueidat receives the case recordsdata from France, he’ll determine whether or not Salameh ought to face justice in Lebanon or elsewhere.

In 2020, the Lebanese prosecution acquired two Interpol crimson notices for tycoon Carlos Ghosn, who confronted monetary misconduct fees in Japan. Ghosn stays in Lebanon.

Salameh has repeatedly denied all corruption allegations, saying he made his wealth from his years working as an funding banker at Merrill Lynch, inherited properties, and investments. He mentioned he would solely resign if convicted of a criminal offense. He additionally mentioned final week he plans to attraction the Interpol crimson discover.

The officers mentioned French authorities have set Might 31, because the day to query Salameh’s brother, Raja, in France and the governor’s shut affiliate Marianne Hoayek on June 13.

Reviews have circulated that the Lebanese central financial institution had employed Forry Associates Ltd., a brokerage agency owned by Raja, to deal with authorities bond gross sales from which the agency acquired $330 million in commissions.

Riad Salameh, a Lebanese-French citizen, has held his submit for nearly 30 years, however says he intends to step down after his present time period ends in July.

The three European governments in March 2022 froze over $130 million in belongings linked to the probe. Throughout a go to to Lebanon in March, the European delegation questioned Salameh concerning the Lebanese central financial institution’s belongings and investments exterior the nation, a Paris condo — which the governor owns — and his brother’s brokerage agency.

As soon as hailed because the guardian of Lebanon’s monetary stability, Salameh since has been closely blamed for Lebanon’s monetary meltdown. Many say he precipitated the financial disaster, which has plunged three-quarters of Lebanon’s inhabitants of 6 million into poverty.


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