The governor of the Lebanon Central Bank is accused of corruption

File photo of Riad Salameh, governor of the Lebanon's central bank, speaking during an interview in Beirut, Lebano...

According to the state news agency, Riad Salameh, the governor of Lebanon's central bank, has been accused of money laundering, embezzlement, and illicit enrichment.

According to the National News Agency, charges have also been brought against Mr. Salameh's brother Raja and a consultant by public prosecutor Judge Raja Hamoush.

The brothers say they did nothing wrong.

Following an 18-month investigation into claims that they stole $300 million (£249 million) from the Banque du Liban between 2002 and 2015, the judge made his decision.

Since 2019, Riad Salameh, the bank's 30-year leader, has come under close scrutiny for his role in Lebanon's economic collapse.

With its currency losing more than 90% of its value against the dollar and the annual inflation rate rocketing to 170 percent last year, the nation is going through one of the worst and longest depressions the world has ever seen.

As a result, more than 80% of the population now struggles to pay for food and medicine and lives in poverty.

Before the crisis, Mr. Salameh received high praise for maintaining the stability of the Lebanese pound and the operation of the banking system in spite of years of political unrest.

According to the National News Agency, Riad Salameh, Raja Salameh, and his assistant Marianne Howayek have been accused by Judge Hamoush of forgery, illicit enrichment, money laundering, and tax law violations.

No further information was given, but it did state that the judge had forwarded the case file to Beirut First Investigative Judge Charbel Bou Samra with the request that "they be questioned and the proper judicial warrants be issued against them.".

In a text message to Reuters, Riad Salameh stated that the accusations were "not an indictment" and vowed to cooperate with the legal system.

As you know, one is innocent until proven guilty by a court of law. I respect the law and the judicial system and will abide by the procedure.

He has previously denied the allegations, claiming they are an attempt to blame him for Lebanon's economic collapse.

How he built up a sizable personal fortune has drawn criticism from his detractors.

Before taking office as governor of the Banque du Liban in 1993, he insisted that the source of the money was the $23 million he earned as an investment banker. According to what he has claimed, he "wisely invested" that money, and his wealth has increased over time.

Authorities are also looking into Mr. Salameh and his brother for related allegations in Switzerland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein.

Last month, a legal delegation from three of those European nations visited Beirut to speak with bankers and other witnesses. They are expected back to continue their investigation in early March.

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