France issues arrest warrant for Lebanese Central Bank governor
The governor rejects all the accusations leveled against him by the French court which has been investigating him since 2021.
On Tuesday, a French investigating magistrate decreed a warrant for the arrest of Riad Salameh, governor of the Lebanese Central Bank, an informed source told AFP.
Earlier Salameh had been called for questioning by French investigators who wanted to know how he managed appropriate large assets (estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars) all across Europe. The arrest warrant follows his failure to appear for questioning.
Salameh's lawyer has assessed the summons to be invalid because they had been issued on short notice.
Investigators believe Salameh employed a sophisticated fraudulent financial system to appropriate Lebanese public funds during his three decades as head of the central bank to establish his network of real estate and banking assets.
Salameh rejects all the accusations leveled against him by the French court which has been investigating him since 2021.
"One day or another he will be arrested," said William Bourdon, a French lawyer who represents two associations among the plaintiffs.
Salameh so far has been dodging his obligations to the French court by fortifying himself with Lebanese law which forbids the extradition of nationals, and the systematic obstruction by some Lebanese magistrates, Bourdon added.
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Salameh has long maintained his innocence since the case was opened against him in the wake of the Lebanese financial crisis. Having been questioned in mid-march by several European judges probing him and his actions, Salameh claimed to have been innocent.
France, Germany, and Luxembourg announced at the end of March 2022 the freezing of 120 million Euros of Lebanese assets linked to Salameh and four other people.
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