On Monday, Mount Lebanon District Court Investigative Judge Ghada Aoun announced that she had indicted Lebanese central bank governor Riad Salameh and his brother Raja Salameh, who was arrested last week.
Following Aoun’s decision to freeze the assets of six Lebanon’s largest banks, as well as those of their board of directors, as she investigates possible transfers of millions of dollars abroad, the banks staged a protest on Monday.
According to Aoun, the Salameh brothers and Ukrainian citizen Anna Kosakova had set up three companies in France to purchase property there. According to Aoun, Riad Salameh used his brother’s money to buy French real estate worth nearly $12 million, which he revealed last week.
During Lebanon’s economic collapse, Banque du Liban Governor Riad Salameh was accused of illegal enrichment and money laundering.
After 30 years in charge, Riad Salameh has consistently denied any wrongdoing.
He was supposed to be questioned by Aoun on Monday morning, but he never showed up. There will be no further developments regarding the whereabouts of Raja Salameh who was arrested on Thursday.
Accusations of corruption were made against the Salamehs in a lawsuit brought by a group of lawyers.
While in office as governor, Aoun put in place a travel ban and temporarily frozen some of his assets in January.
A number of European countries are also investigating him for possible money laundering or embezzlement.
As Lebanese finance minister since 1993, Riad Salameh has overseen the country’s post-war recovery and periods of civil unrest. He was once hailed as Lebanon’s financial savior, but since the country’s economic collapse began in late 2019, he has come under increasing scrutiny.