Lebanon’s Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh
(Photo credit: Jospeh Eid / AFP).
On 18 January, a judge in Beirut ordered a freeze on the possessions of Lebanese Central Bank governor, Riad Salameh.
Judge Ghada Aoun ordered his assets be blocked as a precautionary measure, and while the investigation is in progress.
“The decision came after she questioned a number of senior central bank employees,” sources said.
Salameh is accused of corruption, embezzlement and neglect of duty. On 18 January, he declined being questioned in a case filed by an anti-corruption group in Lebanon.
Judge Aoun also imposed a travel ban on Salameh a week earlier for the same matter. Several European countries are also investigating the Central Bank governor for money laundering.
According to media reports, the travel ban was imposed as a result of a lawsuit filed by activists against Salameh.
Beirut is dealing with its worst economic crisis in decades, as the national currency is plummeting in value, foreign reserves are drying up, and a heavily indebted government is unable to come up with a plan to restore economic growth.
Many are pointing the finger at Salameh, accusing him of taking measures that have led to an increase in the national debt and a decrease in the value of the currency.
Salameh has been the subject of numerous international investigations into potential fraud over the course of his 29-year tenure as Central Bank Governor.
The Lebanese people have been suffering a catastrophic economic crisis during Salameh’s term as governor, the world’s longest for a Central Bank governor.
A leader in spearheading counter-measures against Salameh, the Central Bank as well as corrupt moneychangers, Judge Ghada Aoun has set an example to other judges.
Lebanon launched an investigation into Salameh’s fortunes last year after Switzerland requested assistance with an investigation into more $300 million that Salameh allegedly embezzled from the Central Bank.