Governor of Lebanon’s cenral bank under suspected money laundering investigation

In a report, Agence France-Presse said, French prosecutors have started a preliminary investigation into suspected money laundering operations by the governor of Lebanon’s central bank.

Riad Salameh has come under investigation for conspiracy and organised money-laundering, said the report citing a source with knowledge of the case.

Dismissing the allegation, Salameh’s French lawyer Pierre-Olivier Sur said the investigation was a politically motivated “communications operation”.

In response to the underlying legal complaint against him by Sherpa, an anti-corruption group, Salameh said, he has demonstrated that he had accumulated his wealth before he took up his position at the bank in 1993.

The French financial prosecutor’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comments.

Earlier this year in April, Sherpa had filed a complaint against Salameh citing investments including millions of euros in property.

In the same month, Lebanon had also opened its own investigation into a Swiss legal request following allegations that more than $300 million had been embezzled from the central bank via a company owned by Salameh’s brother.

Salameh did not comment on the opening of that investigation and actions related to it, including the sealing of his brother’s office and the confiscation of files.

Lebanon’s political and financial elite have come under scrutiny over allegations of gross mismanagement, corruption and obstructing efforts to unlock international aid.

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