Several European countries are investigating Salama’s wealth, and investigators suspect he amassed real estate and banking assets through a complex financial scheme, in addition to embezzling Lebanese public funds on a large scale during his tenure as governor of the Banque du Liban for more than three years. decades.
A judicial source said that the discriminatory public defender, Judge Imad Qablan, decided after Salama’s interrogation “to leave him under investigation, to prevent him from traveling and to confiscate his Lebanese and French passports”.
Judge Kaplan sent “a report containing the minutes of the hearing to France, and asked Judge Aud Bourizi to provide him with the French investigation file”, according to the same source.
Salama was absent from an interrogation session in Paris last week, prompting the French judge in charge of European investigations to issue an arrest warrant for him.
On Friday, Lebanon received the red notice issued by Interpol at the request of France.
Lebanese laws do not allow the extradition of citizens to a foreign country for trial.
According to the same source, Lebanese justice will determine when the case arrives from France whether or not it will prosecute Riad Salameh in Lebanon for the crimes he is accused of in France.
The interrogation session took place on Wednesday, the day after “a judge of the Supreme Court in Lebanon who was orally informed by the Munich prosecution that an arrest warrant had been issued against Salameh”, according to statements. from judicial sources. to Agence France-Presse, explaining that Salameh had been charged with “offences relating to corruption, counterfeiting, embezzlement and money laundering”.
No official comment has been issued by the Lebanese authorities regarding the two arrest warrants, but ministers and MPs demanded in statements that he resign, noting that his mandate ends next July.
The European investigations relate to the relationship between the Banque du Liban and the company “Fore Associates”, registered in the Virgin Islands and having an office in Beirut, and whose economic beneficiary is the brother of the leader, Raja Salameh. It is believed that the company acted as an intermediary to buy Treasury bills and Eurobonds from the Banque du Liban by receiving a subscription commission, which was transferred to the accounts of the sovereign’s brother abroad .
France, Germany and Luxembourg froze 120 million euros of Lebanese assets a year ago, following an investigation targeting Salameh and four of his relatives, including his brother, for money laundering and “embezzlement of public funds in Lebanon amounting to more than $330 million and €5 million, respectively, between 2002 and 2021.”.
On July 4, the Paris Court of Appeal will deliver its decision on the legality of the seizure of real estate and security funds in Europe, after its defense filed requests for annulment.
The requests relate to more than a dozen reservations made by France for assets and properties worth tens of millions of euros, including apartments in high-end areas of the capital, others in Britain and Belgium, and bank accounts.
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