BEIRUT: Lebanon received a letter from Luxembourg authorities asking for information relating to Lebanon Central Bank Chief Riad Salameh’s bank accounts and assets, a senior Lebanese judicial source confirmed to Reuters.
The source did not elaborate. A spokesperson for Luxembourg’s judiciary confirmed to Reuters in November it had opened “a criminal case” in relation to Salameh and his companies and assets, declining to provide further information at the time. A spokesperson for Luxembourg’s judiciary and Lebanon’s justice minister did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Friday.
When asked for comment, Salameh told Reuters the request for cooperation was a “normal procedure” not a “legal suit”.
“If they had filed a legal suit they don’t need help in the investigation,” he said. Salameh denied reports that he had been charged by Luxembourg authorities, and said both Switzerland and France had previously requested similar cooperation from Lebanon.
The French embassy in Lebanon said it could not comment on “ongoing judicial affairs”. Salameh has led the central bank for almost three decades. His role has come under close scrutiny since Lebanon’s economic meltdown in 2019, which has seen the value of the currency collapse and swathes of the population pushed into poverty.
The Swiss attorney general’s office last year said it had requested legal assistance from Lebanon in the context of a probe into “aggravated money laundering” and possible embezzlement of more than $300 million under Salameh at the central bank.
France and Liechtenstein have also opened probes into alleged money laundering in relation to Salameh.