French Anti-Graft Judges Probe Lebanon’s Central Bank Governor
French anti-corruption judges have taken over the probe into the personal wealth of Lebanon’s Central Bank Governor, according to AFP.
French prosecutors said on Friday that the investigation into the personal fortune of Lebanon's Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh has been handed over to French anti-corruption courts, according to AFP.
The Financial Prosecutor's Office (PNF) in France handed up its findings for a judicial investigation into suspicions of aggravated money laundering on July 2.
In May, France launched an investigation against Salameh, following a similar step in Switzerland, according to the same source.
Salameh can be summoned for questioning by French judges, who can also collaborate with investigators in other countries and seize his assets.
On his part, Pierre-Olivier Sur, Salameh's lawyer, stated that his client "denies these crimes in their totality" and demanded access to the investigators' findings.
According to William Bourdon and Amelie Lefebvre, lawyers for Sherpa and the savers' collective, the French move marks the start of "a worldwide mega-investigation across Europe."
"Extremely large money laundering schemes will be investigated," they added.
Furthermore, the investigation was prompted by complaints filed by the Swiss foundation Accountability Now, the anti-corruption NGO Sherpa in France, and the Collective Association of Victims of Fraudulent and Criminal Practices in Lebanon, which was founded by savers who had been devastated by the post-2019 crisis.
Their criminal complaint accuses Salameh and people close to him -- his brother, his son, a nephew, and an aide at the Central Bank -- of fraudulently accumulating a massive fortune in Europe.
Besides, demonstrators blocked key roads across Lebanon after the Lebanese pound hit record lows on the market.