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Police chief sued by Lebanese chief over central bank governor

An investigative judge sued Lebanon's police chief, accusing him of obstructing security officers from bringing in the central bank governor for questioning on corruption charges.

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An investigative judge sued Lebanon’s police chief on Wednesday, accusing him of obstructing security officers from bringing in the central bank governor for questioning on corruption charges.

Judge Ghada Aoun took the action a day after she claimed that a police force prevented officials of the spy agency State Security from removing central bank governor Riad Salameh from his residence for questioning.

Aoun announced that she has written a formal letter to Internal Security Force chief Maj. Gen. Imad Osman requested an explanation for the incident. She stated that opposing authorities and obstructing the execution of a judicial order, as Osman did, is a crime.

It was not immediately clear whether Osman would appear next week for interrogation by a Lebanese judge.

Salameh is being sued by a Lebanese anti-corruption group on charges of corruption and dereliction of duty amid Lebanon’s historic economic crisis. The national currency’s value has plummeted, foreign reserves have depleted, and the heavily indebted government has been unable to agree on a plan for economic recovery.

Salameh is also under investigation in several other countries, including Switzerland, Luxembourg, and France, for alleged money laundering and embezzlement.

The difference between Internal Security Forces and State Security reflects the political competition in the country. Osman is considered a close ally of former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, who resigned from parliament earlier this month, and was a vocal opponent of President Michel Aoun, who supports the head of State Security.

Additionally, the judge has been accused of being close to the president. Both are descended from the same family but are unrelated.

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