European investigators allowed to attend Salameh’s hearing

File photo of Lebanon’s Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh . He and his brother Raja are the target of a series of judicial investigations in Lebanon, Switzerland and France on suspicion of fraud, money laundering and illicit enrichment, among other allegations.

European investigators returning to Beirut will be permitted to attend a Lebanese judge’s questioning of central bank governor Riad Salameh, two sources said on Sunday, as Lebanon and several foreign countries investigate whether he embezzled public funds.

Salameh, 72, and his brother are being investigated in Lebanon and at least five European countries. They both deny any wrongdoing.

Last month, a Lebanese judge charged the Salameh brothers with embezzlement, money laundering, illicit enrichment, fraud and tax evasion and set a first hearing for Riad Salameh on Wednesday.

European investigators landing in Beirut on Monday for their second visit as part of the probe will be allowed to attend the hearing, a judicial source and another source with knowledge of the visit’s details told Reuters.

The judicial source said the presiding judge would not allow the foreign investigators to direct questions to Salameh, who has been central bank governor since 1993.

He still enjoys backing from powerful Lebanese leaders, who in turn have significant say over judges’ appointments.

The governor has told Reuters he is innocent and would abide by judicial proceedings, although he has not attended previous hearings over a smaller but related local corruption probe.