Luxembourg asks Lebanon for information on Riad Salameh’s finances: Source

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Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh . Salameh blames the corrupt Lebanese governments for the financial crisis .” I didn’t spend the money” he was quoted as saying . But according to the Swiss authorities he and his brother Raja laundered hundreds of millions of Dollars
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FILE PHOTO: Demonstrators carry Lebanese flags and a banner depicting Lebanon’s Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh, as they head towards the central bank building during an anti-government protes. The banner reads Riad el Harami ( Riad the thief) instead of Riad Salameh (Photo: Reuters)

BEIRUT – Lebanon received a letter from Luxembourg authorities asking for information relating to Lebanon Central Bank Chief Riad Salameh’s bank accounts and assets, a senior Lebanese judicial source confirmed to Reuters.

The source did not elaborate.

A spokesperson for Luxembourg’s judiciary confirmed to Reuters in November it had opened “a criminal case” in relation to Salameh and his companies and assets, declining to provide further information at the time.

A spokesperson for Luxembourg’s judiciary and Lebanon’s justice minister did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Friday.

When asked for comment, Salameh told Reuters the request for cooperation was a “normal procedure” not a “legal suit.”

Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh . Salameh blames the corrupt Lebanese governments for the financial crisis .” I didn’t spend the money” he was quoted as saying . But according to the Swiss authorities he and his brother Raja laundered hundreds of millions of Dollars

“If they had filed a legal suit they don’t need help in the investigation,” he said.

Salameh denied reports that he had been charged by Luxembourg authorities, and said both Switzerland and France had previously requested similar cooperation from Lebanon.

A spokesperson for the French embassy in Lebanon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Swiss attorney general’s office last year said it had requested legal assistance from Lebanon in the context of a probe into “aggravated money laundering” and possible embezzlement of more than $300 million under Salameh at the central bank.

France and Liechtenstein have also opened probes into alleged money laundering in relation to Salameh.

A Central Bank forensic audit is being conducted by Alvarez & Marsal, but according to president Michel Aoun , Salameh is not cooperating with the auditors and not providing the information they need .

Mount Lebanon Public Prosecutor Judge Ghada Aoun said on Tuesday she had issued a subpoena for Salameh after he failed to show up for interrogation sessions as part of her probe into alleged misconduct initiated after Lebanon’s 2019 financial meltdown.

Aoun confirmed to Reuters that she issued the subpoena after Salameh missed three separate sessions and said she had circulated the order to security agencies.

REUTERS

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