Lebanon Central Banker Denies Transfer of Funds Probed by Swiss
Lebanon’s central bank governor said no funds were transfered from the regulator’s accounts, hours after meeting with the country’s top prosecutor about suspected embezzlement from an institution at the core of the country’s financial collapse.
“I met with Prosecutor General Ghassan Oueidat and provided him with all the answers to the questions he raised,” Riad Salameh said in a statement sent via text message. “I assured him that no transfers were made from the accounts of Banque du Liban or from its budgets,” he said, referring to the central bank.
The two met at Oueidat’s office in Beirut at the request of the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland, which is investigating alleged money laundering and possible embezzlement from the Lebanese central bank. The Swiss didn’t identify the target of their money-laundering probe, but Lebanon’s Al Akhbar newspaper reported an alleged transfer of some $400 million linked to Salameh.
Oueidat will ask the central bank for documents related to transfers from Salameh’s personal account that went through the bank, including those that show date and amount, an official in the judiciary said. The Lebanese prosecutor told Salameh he could either travel to Switzerland for questioning or a Swiss team could come to Lebanon, according to the official, who asked to remain anonymous as the information is not public.
Salameh told the prosecutor he would travel to Switzerland, the official said. The central bank governor’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment on his plans.
Earlier in the day, Salameh said he reserved the right to sue those who spread “malicious rumors and insults that affect me personally as well as damage Lebanon’s financial reputation.”
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.