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Lebanon central bank governor's brother released on $3.7m bail

May 12, 2022 at 10:21 am

Security forces take measures as people intent to march toward the parliament building and Association of Banks after gathered outside the Central Bank of Lebanon to protest the restrictions on foreign currency deposits in banks since the economic crisis begins in Oct. 2019 in Beirut, Lebanon on 6 October 2021. [Hussam Shbaro – Anadolu Agency]

Raja Salameh, the brother of Lebanon’s central bank governor, has been released on bail of 100 billion Lebanese pounds (around $3.7 million), two judicial sources told Reuters.

Salameh was arrested on 17 March and charged with complicity in illicit enrichment by his brother, Riad, who was subsequently charged with illicit enrichment.

Last month a Lebanese investigative judge ordered the seizure of properties belonging to Raja Salameh.

Both have denied the charges against them.

Riad Salameh, 71, has been governor of Lebanon’s central bank for nearly three decades. His tenure has faced increased scrutiny since the financial system imploded in 2019 in a collapse that has impoverished many Lebanese.

Riad Salameh also faces other investigations in Lebanon and at least five European countries including a Swiss inquiry over alleged aggravated money laundering at the central bank (BDL) involving $300 million in gains by a company owned by Raja Salameh.

READ: Lebanon gov’t, central bank’s ‘callous destruction’ impoverished people, UN report says