The Discriminatory Public Prosecution in Lebanon decided to interrogate the Governor of the Banque du Liban, Riad Salameh, in several cases, including embezzlement of public funds and tax evasion, according to a judicial source earlier today..
More than two months ago, the Lebanese judiciary opened a local investigation into Salama’s wealth and its source after he was targeted by an investigation in Switzerland on suspicion of involvement in embezzlement cases, before he was also targeted with an investigation in France and a complaint in Britain..
The judicial source said that the Discriminatory Public Prosecution decided to interrogate Salama at the beginning of next August, as he “will be subject to investigation before the Discriminatory Public Prosecutor Jean Tannous for the crimes of embezzlement of public funds, forgery, illicit enrichment, money laundering and tax evasion.”
The source explained that the local investigation “intersects” with the investigations in the three Western countries, and the decision to question Salameh, “and the prosecution against him comes based on internal and external data and information that called for these measures.”
Last January, the Federal Public Prosecution Office in Switzerland requested legal assistance from the Lebanese authorities, which in February sent their “preliminary result” after hearing the statements of Salama and his brother and his assistance.
The request, which was sent by the Swiss public prosecutor to Lebanon and a copy of which was seen by Agence France-Presse, states that it appears that Salameh and with the help of his brother, since 2002, have embezzled funds estimated at more than 300 million US dollars to the detriment of the Banque du Liban.
After the Swiss judiciary, the French National Financial Prosecution opened in early July a judicial investigation into Salameh on charges of “money laundering in an organized gang and criminal conspiracy.”
The investigations were assigned to investigative judges at the Paris Anti-Corruption Prosecution, who have broader investigative powers, especially in the field of international cooperation and possible confiscation of property belonging to suspects..
It is assumed that the French and Swiss investigations will make it possible to clarify the source of the huge real estate wealth that Salama owns in Europe.
Salameh came to power at the Banque du Liban in 1993, after working for twenty years as an investment banker for Merrill Lynch in Beirut and Paris..
At a time when Lebanon is facing an unprecedented economic collapse that is among the worst in the world since the middle of the nineteenth century, according to the World Bank, Salameh has become at the forefront of the rejected figures from the Lebanese street..
Political parties hold Salama responsible for the collapse of the national currency, which has lost more than ninety percent of its value, and sharply criticize the monetary policies that it adopted as it accumulated debts, but Salameh repeatedly defended himself, saying that the Central Bank “financed the state, but did not spend it.” money.”
Salama stresses that all his money is authorized and legal, and that he accumulated his wealth from what he inherited, and through his career in the financial sector.
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