Interrogation of the Governor of the Bank of Lebanon
A Lebanese judicial source revealed that an investigative judge had set March 15 as a date to interrogate the Governor of the Banque du Liban, Riad Salameh, as part of a corruption investigation involving Salameh and those close to him.
Judge Charbel Abu Samra took over the investigation of the case late last month after another judge charged Salameh with embezzlement, illegal enrichment and money laundering, according to Reuters.
The charges come after an 18-month investigation. A former judge recused himself from the investigation and did not press charges.
Long-time incumbent Riad Salameh and his brother, Raja, have denied the accusations.
In recent weeks, Salameh has stated that he has decided to leave his post when his current term ends in July.
Salama said that he was not asked to work for a new period, and that he believes that the previous period is sufficient.
Salameh also stated that the current economic crisis in Lebanon is due to the continuing state of political instability that plagues it, and that the parallel exchange rates are caused by the insufficiency of its foreign exchange reserves.
He said, “The freedom left in the market is because I don’t have enough reserves to intervene.”
Salameh added that Lebanon’s current foreign exchange reserves amount to ten billion dollars, and that gold reserves are estimated at about 17 billion.
Also, the reserves today are 15 billion, 10 billion as much as they used abroad, and the rest are local dollars, and gold in Lebanon is worth about 17 billion.