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European authorized staff wraps up questioning of Lebanon’s Central Bank chief in Beirut

A European authorized staff on Friday wrapped up two days of questioning of Lebanon’s Central Bank chief in Beirut in a money-laundering probe linked to the governor, officers stated.

Several European nations are investigating Gov. Riad Salameh, who lately has been charged with corruption-related crimes, in a case of cash laundering of some $330 million. Salameh, 72, has been the pinnacle of Lebanon’s Central Bank since 1993.

He was questioned for 2 hours on Friday and 6 hours the day earlier than, based on Lebanese judicial officers. The European delegation — with representatives from France, Germany, and Luxembourg — questioned Salameh via a Lebanese decide, performing as a go-between. Under Lebanese legal guidelines, the representatives can not instantly query Salameh.

On Thursday, Salameh was questioned about an residence in Paris rented by Lebanon’s Central Bank and Forry Associates Ltd, a brokerage agency owned by Salameh’s brother, Raja Salameh, the officers advised The Associated Press, talking on situation of anonymity to debate the probe proceedings.


The questions largely centered on the Central Bank, its property and investments exterior Lebanon, the officers added.

Salameh issued an announcement later saying he responded to the questions out of respect to the regulation, including that he was not questioned “as a suspect or accused.” He additionally denounced what he described as “unhealthy intentions” towards him.

“Nations aren’t constructed on lies,” stated Salameh, who has repeatedly denied corruption prices.

Lebanon's Central Bank Gov. Riad Salameh attends a news conference in Beirut on Nov. 11, 2019. A European legal team wrapped up two days of questioning Salameh on Friday.

Lebanon’s Central Bank Gov. Riad Salameh attends a information convention in Beirut on Nov. 11, 2019. A European authorized staff wrapped up two days of questioning Salameh on Friday. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File)

The European staff set April 15 to start out questioning Salameh’s brother and an affiliate, Marianne Hoayek, the officers additionally stated.


Judge Helena Iskandar, who’s representing the Lebanese state within the European questioning, charged on Wednesday Salameh, his brother and Hoayek with corruption.

In addition to the European probe, there are different authorized proceedings towards Salameh underway in Lebanon. In late February, Beirut’s public prosecutor, Raja Hamoush, charged the identical three suspects with corruption, together with embezzling public funds, forgery, illicit enrichment, money-laundering and violation of tax legal guidelines.

Lebanon is grappling with the worst financial and monetary disaster in its fashionable historical past. The financial meltdown that started in late 2019 is rooted in many years of corruption and mismanagement by the nation’s political class. More than 75% of the tiny nation’s inhabitants of 6 million has been plunged into poverty.

Salameh was as soon as hailed because the guardian of Lebanon’s monetary stability, however many within the nation now maintain him liable for the disaster, citing insurance policies that drove up nationwide debt. He nonetheless enjoys backing from the nation’s prime politicians, nevertheless. His time period ends in July and he has advised native media that he wish to step down from his publish as an alternative of pursuing one other time period.

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