Lebanon: Central Bank Governor Suspect in $132M Asset Freeze Probe

Published March 29th, 2022 - 08:23 GMT
Lebanon: Central Bank Governor Suspect in $132M Asset Freeze Probe
The assets that were seized in France, Germany, Luxembourg, Monaco and Belgium are linked to Salameh and four other people suspected of embezzling around $330m. (Shutterstock)

Lebanon's central bank governor Riad Salameh is a suspect in a joint case conducted across several EU countries which seized properties and bank accounts worth about 120 million euros ($132m), prosecutors in Germany said on Monday.

The assets that were seized in France, Germany, Luxembourg, Monaco and Belgium are linked to Salameh and four other people suspected of embezzling around $330m, Eurojust said in a statement. 

An email from Munich prosecutors said the statement from the EU criminal justice agency referred to investigations concerning Salameh, whose wealth is being investigated in at least five European states.

Eurojust has been involved in coordinating meetings between countries investigating Salameh. However, Eurojust spokesperson declined to comment further and declined to name the suspects, complying with regulations.

"Despite the outcome of the action day, the suspects in the main investigation are assumed to be innocent until they have been proven guilty, according to law," their statement said.

Swiss prosecutors suspect Salameh of having embezzled the money through British Virgin Islands company Forry Associates, which is managed by his brother Raja.

A diplomat from one of the EU countries where the assets were frozen also confirmed the move was related to the probes into Salameh and his brother, according to Reuters.

The Eurojust statement said the assets seized included some 35 million euros' worth in Germany that included properties in Hamburg and Munich, two property complexes in Paris worth 16 million euros, and Monaco bank accounts worth 46 million euros.

It's worth noting that last week, Lebanese judge Ghada Aoun charged Riad Salameh with "illicit enrichment" and money laundering after he failed to attend a court hearing for the fifth time.


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