document.write(''); France has issued an arrest warrant for the head of the Central Bank of Lebanon Corruption news - Simo Baha

France has issued an arrest warrant for the head of the Central Bank of Lebanon Corruption news

Riyad Salameh calls the French warrant a violation of the law as he investigates allegations of corruption at home and abroad.

French prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for Riyad Salameh, head of Lebanon’s central bank, which criticized the move and vowed to appeal.

It followed Salameh’s failure to appear for questioning on corruption charges on Tuesday.

In the statement, he stated that the arrest warrant is a violation of the law.

Salameh, 72, has been the target of a series of judicial investigations at home and abroad on charges of fraud, money laundering and illicit enrichment.

European investigators looking into his assets, which he amassed over three decades on the job, have scheduled a hearing in Paris on Tuesday.

A European judicial team from France, Germany and Luxembourg is conducting a corruption investigation into a range of financial crimes, including illicit enrichment and the alleged laundering of $330 million.

During a visit to Lebanon in March, the European delegation asked Salameh about Lebanon’s central bank assets and investments outside the country, the Paris apartment owned by the governor and his brother Raja Salameh’s Forry Associates Ltd brokerage.

Forry is a company registered in the British Virgin Islands that has named Salameh’s brother as its beneficiary.

He is suspected of brokering Lebanese Treasury bonds and Eurobonds, which were then allegedly transferred to foreign bank accounts.

Salame has repeatedly denied all the accusations against him. He claimed his wealth came from his former job as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch, inherited property and investments.

The central bank chief failed to appear before a Paris judge after Lebanese authorities failed to serve him with an official summons.

Lebanese “police officers visited the central bank four times last week to serve an official summons to Riyad Salameh on behalf of the French authorities,” a judicial official told Agence France-Presse news agency.

“However, he was nowhere to be found” and the summons was returned to Lebanon’s judicial system, which was supposed to notify French authorities, the official said.

Salameh’s whereabouts were unknown.

A hearing date for Tuesday was set last month and Lebanon lifted an entry ban on Salameh, who is also being investigated at home.

In an investigation in Lebanon, Beirut prosecutor Raja Hamoush in late February charged Salameh, his brother and a close friend with corruption, including embezzlement, forgery, illicit enrichment, money laundering and tax violations.

Salameh, once hailed as the guardian of Lebanon’s financial stability, is increasingly blamed for the country’s financial crisis. Many say he helped with the crisis, which has plunged three-quarters of the country’s 6 million people into poverty.

Salameh’s term ends in July, and while there is no obvious successor, the veteran governor has said in television interviews that he plans to step down.

On Monday, lawyers representing Salameh, his brother and his former assistant Marian Hoajek “submitted a formal request to the prosecutor’s office to suspend European judicial assistance. [in the case] because it contradicts the Lebanese investigation,” the judicial official said.

Salameh’s lawyers accuse European investigators of “violating Lebanon’s sovereignty” and want them to “permanently suspend” their investigation into the central bank’s ties to Forry Associates Ltd.

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