Lebanon’s Central Financial institution chief attends corruption questioning Lalrp GT4JF3WD3II63AVHNKDVKXAYPA


BEIRUT — Lebanon’s embattled Central Financial institution chief appeared Thursday for questioning for the primary time earlier than a European authorized group visiting Beirut in a money-laundering probe linked to the governor.

A number of European international locations are investigating Riad Salameh, who in recent times has been charged with a handful of corruption-related crimes. Salameh has been Lebanon’s central financial institution governor since 1993.

The questioning was initially scheduled for Wednesday. Salameh did not show up.

Judicial officers instructed The Related Press that Decide Helena Iskandar, who’s representing the Lebanese state on the questioning within the European probe, charged Salameh, his brother Raja and affiliate Marianne Hoayek with corruption and ordered detained after the Central Financial institution chief didn’t present up. Their property had been additionally frozen. The officers spoke on situation of anonymity as they weren’t approved to talk to the press.

Along with the European probe, there are different legal proceedings against Salameh underway in Lebanon. In late February, Beirut’s public prosecutor, Raja Hamoush, charged the three with corruption, together with embezzling public funds, forgery, illicit enrichment, money-laundering and violation of tax legal guidelines.

The European delegation is investigating the laundering of some $330 million. The questioning was anticipated to final till Friday, the judicial officers mentioned.

Lebanon is grappling with the worst financial and monetary disaster in its fashionable historical past. The financial meltdown, which started in October 2019 and is rooted in many years of corruption and mismanagement by the nation’s political class, has plunged greater than 75% of the tiny nation’s inhabitants of 6 million into poverty.