PARIS (Reuters) – French prosecutors have opened a preliminary investigation into cash laundering allegations in opposition to Lebanon’s central financial institution governor, Agence France-Presse reported on Sunday.
Riad Salameh is underneath investigation in relation to doable conspiracy and organised money-laundering, AFP mentioned, citing a supply with information of the case.
Salameh’s French lawyer Pierre-Olivier Sur dismissed the allegations as a politically motivated “communications operation” in a press release despatched to Reuters by the financial institution governor on Sunday.
Responding final month to the underlying authorized criticism in opposition to him by anti-corruption group Sherpa, Salameh mentioned he had demonstrated that his wealth had been acquired earlier than he took up his financial institution submit in 1993.
The French monetary prosecutor’s workplace didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
Sherpa filed the criticism in opposition to Salameh in April, citing investments together with thousands and thousands of euros in property.
Lebanon opened its personal investigation in April following a Swiss authorized request alleging that greater than $300 million had been embezzled from the central financial institution through an organization owned by Salameh’s brother.
Salameh had no remark on the time when requested by Reuters concerning the opening of that investigation and actions associated to it, together with the sealing of his brother’s workplace and the confiscation of information.
Lebanon’s monetary and political elite have lengthy been underneath scrutiny over allegations of mismanagement, corruption and obstructing efforts to unlock worldwide help.
(Reporting by Laurence Frost; Extra reporting by Laila Bassam in Beirut; Modifying by Frances Kerry)
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