Lebanese central bank governor suspected of embezzling more than $ 300 million

Posted on Apr 27, 2021, 6:38 PMUpdated Apr 27, 2021, 7:14 PM

The content of the Swiss investigation targeting the powerful governor of the Banque du Liban (BDL) is becoming clearer. Official documents leaked to the press indicate that the Swiss authorities suspect Riad Salamé, in office since 1993, and his younger brother, Raja, of “Embezzlement of funds to the detriment of the Bank of Lebanon” and of “Aggravated money laundering” for amounts estimated at over 330 million dollars. Last November, the public prosecutor of the Swiss Confederation (MPC) sent a request for mutual legal assistance to the Lebanese authorities published by an information site.

He mentioned in particular a contract signed on April 6, 2002 by the Governor of the BDL and Forry Associates LTD, a company registered in the British Virgin Islands and whose economic beneficiary would be Raja Salamé. This brokerage contract for the management of financial products – Treasury bills and Eurobonds – would have enabled Forry to touch between April 2002 and October 2014 some 326 million dollars in an account at the HSBC bank in Switzerland. These commissions would then have been donated to the benefit of the Salamé brothers. “As well as to members of their family or their immediate circle, including Marianne Howayek”, the assistant to the governor, mentioned in the file under the status of assisted witness.

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