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Beirut , Lebanon

Central bank chief Riad Salameh was summoned by Lebanese prosecutor Jean Tannous for questioning over allegations of “embezzlement, forgery, illicit enrichment, money laundering and tax evasion” .

A prosecutor in Lebanon has summoned central bank chief Riad Salameh for questioning next month over corruption allegations, a judicial source said on Monday.

Mr Salameh, one of world’s longest-serving central bank governors, is facing a series of allegations, including from Switzerland, France and Britain, over suspicions of money laundering, embezzlement and fraud.

Lebanon opened an investigation into Mr Salameh’s wealth in April, after the Swiss attorney general requested assistance in an investigation into more than $300 million that Mr Salameh allegedly embezzled out of the central bank with the help of his brother.

Mr Salameh has denied the accusations.

In August, Lebanese prosecutor Jean Tannous will question Mr Salameh about allegations of “embezzlement, forgery, illicit enrichment, money laundering and tax evasion”, the judicial source said.

The decision to interrogate him is “based on information coming from Lebanon and abroad”, the source said.

The investigation overlaps with similar cases in other countries, they said.

The accusations brought against Mr Salameh came as Lebanon faces an economic crisis that the World Bank says is one of the worst since the mid-19th century.

Critics in the country have blamed Mr Salameh’s monetary policies for the financial crash, but there have been no serious calls for his removal from a ruling class accused of benefiting from his central bank schemes.

After Switzerland opened its case, France launched a similar investigation in May into charges of aggravated money laundering.

The inquiry was prompted by complaints filed by Swiss foundation Accountability Now, France’s Sherpa anti-corruption NGO, and the Collective Association of Victims of Fraudulent and Criminal Practices in Lebanon, set up by people devastated by the economic crisis.

AFP/ NATIONAL AE

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