European group ends questioning of Lebanon Central Bank chief

BEIRUT– A European legal group on Friday finished up 2 days of questioning of Lebanon’s Central Bank chief in Beirut in a money-laundering probe connected to the guv, authorities stated.

Several European nations are examining Gov. Riad Salameh, who recently has actually been charged with corruption-related criminal activities, in a case of cash laundering of some $330 million. Salameh, 72, has actually been the head of Lebanon’s Central Bank given that 1993.

He was questioned for 2 hours on Friday and 6 hours the day prior to, according to Lebanese judicial authorities. The European delegation– with agents from France, Germany, and Luxembourg– questioned Salameh through a Lebanese judge, serving as a go-between. Under Lebanese laws, the agents can not straight question Salameh.

On Thursday, Salameh was questioned about a home in Paris leased by Lebanon’s Central Bank and Forry Associates Ltd, a brokerage company owned by Salameh’s bro, Raja Salameh, the authorities informed The Associated Press, speaking on condition of privacy to talk about the probe procedures.

The concerns mainly concentrated on the Central Bank, its possessions and financial investments outside Lebanon, the authorities included.

Salameh provided a declaration later on stating he reacted to the concerns out of regard to the law, including that he was not questioned “as a suspect or implicated.” He likewise knocked what he referred to as “bad intents” versus him.

” Nations are not developed on lies,” stated Salameh, who has actually consistently rejected corruption charges.

The European group set April 15 to begin questioning Salameh’s sibling and a partner, Marianne Hoayek, the authorities likewise stated.

Judge Helena Iskandar, who is representing the Lebanese state in the European questioning, charged on Wednesday Salameh, his sibling and Hoayek with corruption.

In addition to the European probe, there are other legal procedures versus Salameh underway in Lebanon. In late February, Beirut’s public district attorney, Raja Hamoush, charged the exact same 3 suspects with corruption, consisting of embezzling public funds, forgery, illegal enrichment, money-laundering and offense of tax laws.

Lebanon is coming to grips with the worst financial and monetary crisis in its modern-day history. The financial crisis that started in late 2019 is rooted in years of corruption and mismanagement by the nation’s political class. More than 75% of the small country’s population of 6 million has actually been plunged into hardship.

Salameh was when hailed as the guardian of Lebanon’s monetary stability, however numerous in the nation now hold him accountable for the crisis, mentioning policies that increased nationwide financial obligation. He still delights in support from the nation’s leading political leaders. His term ends in July and he has actually informed regional media that he wish to step down from his post rather of pursuing another term.

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