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Monday, 01 March 2021

Lebanese prosecutor questions c.bank governor Salameh after Swiss request

The Swiss attorney general had requested legal assistance from Lebanon in the context of a probe into 'aggravated money laundering' and possible embezzlement tied to the Lebanese central bank

Reuters , Thursday 21 Jan 2021
Riad Salameh
FILE PHOTO: Lebanon's Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh speaks during a news conference at Central Bank in Beirut, Lebanon, November 11, 2019. REUTERS
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Lebanese Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh answered questions from Lebanon's public prosecutor on Thursday, based on a request from Swiss judicial authorities.

Salameh said he had told Public Prosecutor Ghassan Oueidat he stood "ready to answer any questions" and that no financial transfers had been made from central bank accounts.

A senior judicial source told Reuters Salameh had been questioned, but not as a suspect, and had decided to accept the option to respond to further questions directly to Swiss authorities.

The Swiss attorney general's office said this week it had requested legal assistance from Lebanon in the context of a probe into "aggravated money laundering" and possible embezzlement tied to the Lebanese central bank.

The office did not say whether Salameh was a suspect. On Thursday, it was not immediately available for comment.

A Lebanese government official told Reuters that Swiss authorities were investigating money transfers by Salameh and also looking into his brother and assistant. Salameh said that any allegations about such transfers were "fabrications".

Salameh has led Lebanon's central bank since 1993. His role came under scrutiny in Lebanon after the financial system collapsed in an unprecedented crisis that prompted a crash in the Lebanese pound and a sovereign default.

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