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 Banque du Liban for more than three years. decades.
The judicial official said that Salama “was the subject of an investigative session before the discriminatory prosecutor, Judge Imad Qablan, who questioned him about the content of the red notice issued by Interpol, on the basis of ‘an arrest warrant issued in absentia by the Munich public prosecutor for the offenses of money laundering, fraud, embezzlement and illegal enrichment.’
At the end of the session, Kabalan decided, according to the same source, “to leave Salameh under investigation and to prevent him from traveling, after verifying that he does not have a passport other than the Lebanese and French passports which were seized” last week. after having heard him, on the basis of an arrest warrant issued by a French judge against him.
Qabalan asked German justice, in a letter he directed through the General Secretariat of Interpol and which included the minutes of the interrogation session, to provide him with the entire file of Salameh “to examine it and take the legal measures concerning it”, according to the same source.
Kabalan had made the same request to French judge Aud Bourizi on Wednesday, after hearing Salama on the basis of a French arrest warrant on the same charges, issued after he was barred from appearing in Paris.
Lebanese laws do not allow the extradition of citizens to a foreign country for trial. During the interrogation session, which lasted over an hour, Salama repeated his denial of all the charges against him.
And he reaffirmed that “the source of his wealth is from his private business and he has not benefited from any money from the Central Bank apart from his monthly salary.”
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.”.
Raja Salameh was due to appear before Burizi in Paris on Wednesday. However, his lawyer has provided, according to the source, a medical excuse indicating that he suffers from heart problems and needs a catheterization operation which requires him to be hospitalized and prevents him from boarding the plane. Bourizi accepted the memorandum and postponed his interrogation for two months, according to the same source.
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