Reuters Mohamed Azakir
Informed sources told “Bloomberg” agency that the United States is considering imposing sanctions on the governor of the Central Bank of Lebanon, Riad Salameh, against the background of investigations into transferring funds abroad.
According to the sources, officials in the administration of US President Joe Biden discussed the possibility of taking coordinated measures with European partners towards Riad Salameh, who has headed the Central Bank of Lebanon for 28 years.
The sources added that the discussions centered on freezing Salama’s assets abroad and activating measures that would limit his ability to do business abroad, and that the final decision in this regard had not been taken yet.
Two of the sources told Bloomberg that Washington had considered taking measures against Salameh earlier, but former President Donald Trump showed no interest in that last year, and that his administration was focusing efforts on confronting Hezbollah.
It is noteworthy that the Swiss Public Prosecution requested assistance from Lebanon in investigations related to money laundering and the possible waste of public money in a case related to the Bank of Lebanon, while the authorities in some other countries, including Britain and France, are reviewing Riad Salameh’s links to various assets, companies and financial transfers.
Salameh denied the validity of the allegations related to him and the Bank of Lebanon. Bloomberg quoted him as saying: “It is not true that I was benefiting in any way, directly or indirectly, from any assets or assets belonging to Banque du Liban or any other public funds.”
Salameh added that his sources of income are clearly identified, that his wealth was $ 23 million when he took office in 1993, and that he gained his fortune during his previous work as a banker in the private sector, where his salary at the Merrill Lynch Investment Corporation was $ 165,000 a month.