A group of activists based in London has accused the governor of the Bank of Lebanon, Riad Salamé and his relatives by name, of corruption and laundering of dirty money.
The group called Guernica37 transmitted this report to the British police last year as well as to the National Crime Agency. This report was prepared at the request of Lebanese civil society activist groups.
A preliminary investigation is also said to be underway to verify the information published. It will then be a question of opening a formal investigation.
Riad Salamé could thus have embezzled several hundreds of billions of pounds sterling, reinvested in financial assets in Great Britain, accuse the authors of this report who also transmitted it to the judicial authorities of other European countries.
Riad Salamé, who has read this report believes that these are false allegations.
This report accuses the governor of the Banque du Liban in particular of having provided the benefit of a certain number of his relatives, including his former son-in-law, a lawyer. Recourse to the services of the latter was then compulsory in order to proceed with over-the-counter purchases of Lebanese banks.
The Guernica report37210105-Lebanon-Corruption-redacted-copy-1
This information comes when Riad Salamé had already seen his assets hosted by Switzerland being frozen due to suspicion of embezzlement of the Banque du Liban , in the context of another case, this time dealing with the subject of remittances abroad.
The sum frozen by the Swiss authorities would thus be estimated at 400 million dollars.
The governor of the Banque du Liban is under international scrutiny after initially refusing the forensic audit of the accounts of the Banque du Liban. Some sources believe that this procedure could allow the discovery of many financial anomalies, some of which could be linked to the current crisis in Lebanon.
Riad Salamé would be accused in particular of having favored certain banking groups and their shareholders to the detriment of the interests of depositors via financial engineering operations often compared to a scheme of Ponzi-type fraud. The Banque du Liban thus repaid nearly 16 billion dollars between 2016 and 2018, thus emptying a large part of its monetary reserves in favor of banking establishments while these establishments are now considered insolvent abroad, having repaid the major part. of their profits to their shareholders.
The Alvarez & Marsal firm announces its withdrawal from the forensic audit procedure , November 20, 2020 after the Banque du Liban refused to answer 57% of the questions asked , under the pretext of the credit and currency code or even legislation related to banking secrecy, plunging Lebanon into uncertainty. Indeed, this audit is now considered essential for obtaining help from the international community, while foreign experts believe that it is more a question of covering up certain anomalies and that the Swiss investigation aims to exert pressure. on the governor himself so that he fully cooperates in the forensic audit procedure.
As a reminder, rumors of the transfer for an estimated amount of 2.5 billion dollars belonging mainly to political and business figures caused a stir in January 2020 before being quickly forgotten, while the majority of the Lebanese population is still facing a serious liquidity crisis, which has worsened even more as the Association of Banks of Lebanon (ABL) has decided to limit withdrawals and prohibit “except in urgent cases”, transfers to the foreign.
As a reminder, as of December 30, 2019, the public prosecutor, Judge Ghassan Oueidat, requested preliminary information concerning these transfers to then estimate the transfers at $ 5 billion.
However, the current Lebanese investigation appears to be on hold due to political protections enjoyed by some high-ranking personalities including the Governor of the Banque du Liban.
Some sources indicate, however, that the Swiss authorities were able to take up the case without giving more details because of the secrecy of the investigation.
Charges of embezzlement already rejected by Riad Salamé
As a reminder, Riad Salamé had categorically rejected the accusations of the Swiss authorities who had asked for details concerning certain transfers . He said he had transferred the sum of $ 240 million only abroad since 2002.
Some sources indicate that, in addition to the governor of the Banque du Liban himself, his brother Raja and his assistant Marianne Hoayek would be targeted by the investigation.
In addition to the Minister of Justice Marie Claude Najem who transferred the file to the Public Prosecutor, the President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun and the outgoing Prime Minister Hassan Diab, would also have been informed of Bern’s request.
For his part, Riad Salamé – supported by the Prime Minister designate Saad Hariri – denied being at the origin of such transfers just like his brother or his assistant.
This information comes when he had already been accused, last April, by Daraj Media, of being at the origin of such movements of funds. https://libnanews.com/de-nouvelles-accusations-contre-le-gouverneur-de-la-banque-du-liban-et-ses-proches-daraj-media/embed/#?secret=Er1buSi316
The governor of the Banque du Liban Riad Salamé, his brother Raja and his close advisor Marianne Hoayek would be accused of holding accounts for several hundred million dollars on the basis of documents provided during the Panama Papers scandal.
Thus, Marianne Hoayek would have opened an account for the benefit of Riad Salamé for more than 187 million dollars within the Banco Allado Panama bank and another account within VP Bank Tortola BVI for 150 million dollars.
In addition, a company belonging to Rami Makhouf, a cousin of Syrian President Bashar el Assad would have transferred to the Zurich account of the governor of the Banque du Liban 55 million euros. He is also said to have an account of 80 million euros at the First National Bank.
With his brother Raja, he would have more than 446 million dollars invested mainly abroad. As for Marianne Hoayek, for whom 340 million dollars would have been placed under her name, she is a senior official at the Banque du Liban.
These figures were revealed when the question of the renewal of the mandate of the governor of the Banque du Liban in 2016 before the affair was hushed up, underlined Dima Sadek.
The journalist was then summoned in May 2020, she was summoned by the Internal Security Forces following a complaint “for undermining the reputations of banks and the prestige of the economy” by the Governor of the Banque du Liban Riad Salamé.