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Lebanon crisis

Lebanese judge issues subpoena for Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh

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A Lebanese judge said on Tuesday she had issued a subpoena for Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh after he failed to show up for interrogation sessions as part of her probe into alleged misconduct initiated after Lebanon’s 2019 financial meltdown.

Judge Ghada Aoun confirmed to Reuters that she issued the subpoena after Salameh missed three separate sessions and said she had circulated the order to security agencies.

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Salameh was asked to come in as a witness and has not been charged in the case. He declined to comment on Tuesday.

He has previously denied any wrongdoing and has characterized investigations against him in Lebanon and abroad as politically motivated.

He has in the past accused Aoun of bias and last month claimed he filed a suit seeking her dismissal from investigations against him after she imposed a travel ban on him.

Aoun subsequently froze Salameh’s assets and property in Lebanon, including several cars and houses.

A judicial source previously told Reuters that Aoun’s probes center on allegations of fraud, embezzlement and the central bank’s “financial engineering” operations that gave commercial banks lavish returns over several years to attract dollars into Lebanon.

Salameh has been governor for almost three decades and stayed in his post even as the economy has been crushed by a mountain of debt, the currency has collapsed and swathes of the nation have been driven into poverty.

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