Germany has taken a significant step in the ongoing investigation into Lebanon’s central bank by issuing an arrest warrant for Riad Salameh, according to an official source. This move follows France’s issuance of an arrest warrant for Salameh after he failed to appear for a hearing in Paris.
Salameh is suspected of orchestrating an elaborate embezzlement scheme, allegedly with the assistance of his brother Raja, to divert hundreds of millions of dollars from the Banque Du Liban (BDL). The charges against him, which include corruption, forgery, money laundering, and embezzlement, were communicated to the Lebanese judiciary by Reuters.
The investigation into Salameh’s activities extends beyond France and Germany, with six European countries currently scrutinizing his actions. It is alleged that he misappropriated public funds through intricate financial maneuvers involving the banking systems of Luxembourg and Switzerland. These illicit funds were then purportedly used to acquire lavish properties in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Belgium.
Lebanon received an Interpol notice regarding Salameh’s case, which allows authorities in other countries to assist in identifying and locating the suspect with the ultimate goal of extradition to the issuing country. However, Lebanon is not legally obligated to extradite its own citizens, and the country maintains a longstanding policy of not extraditing nationals.
Despite mounting pressure and calls for his resignation within the political sphere, Salameh, whose mandate concludes at the end of July, continues to hold his position as Lebanon’s central bank governor. The recent French judicial decision has amplified the demands for his immediate departure.