France issues arrest warrant for Lebanon’s central bank chief

French prosecutors have issued an arrest warrant for Lebanon’s central bank governor, Riad Salameh, who slammed the move and promised to appeal.

The warrant followed Salameh’s failure to appear before French prosecutors on Tuesday to be questioned on corruption charges, officials said.

In a statement, he said the arrest warrant is a violation of the law.

Salameh, 72, has been the target of a series of judicial investigations at home and abroad on allegations that include fraud, money laundering and illicit enrichment.

European investigators looking into the fortune he has amassed during three decades in the job had scheduled a hearing in Paris for Tuesday.

A European judicial team from France, Germany and Luxembourg is conducting a corruption investigation into an array of financial crimes, including illicit enrichment and alleged laundering of $330m.

During a visit to Lebanon in March, a European delegation questioned Salameh about the Lebanese central bank’s assets and investments outside the country, a Paris apartment that the governor owns and his brother Raja Salameh’s brokerage firm Forry Associates Ltd.

Forry is a British Virgin Islands-registered company that listed Salameh’s brother as its beneficiary.

It is suspected of having brokered Lebanese treasury bonds and eurobonds at a commission, which was then allegedly transferred to bank accounts abroad.



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