Germany confirms probe into former Lebanon central bank chief Riad Salameh

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German prosecutors have for the first time confirmed money laundering investigations against the former Lebanese central bank chief, the Munich public prosecutor’s office said on Tuesday.

The prosecutors said they were investigating Riad Salameh, Lebanon’s central bank chief, from 1993 to 2023, together with his brother Raja and other suspects on charges including forgery, money laundering and embezzlement.

The Salameh brothers deny the charges.

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Last year, a source told Reuters Germany had issued an arrest warrant for Salameh on corruption charges.

Salameh, 72, is being investigated in Lebanon and at least five European countries for allegedly taking hundreds of millions of dollars from Lebanon’s central bank, to the detriment of the Lebanese state, and laundering the funds abroad.

Munich’s public prosecutor’s office said part of the sum was routed to Europe via a letterbox company in the British Virgin Islands and invested in real estate, including in Germany.

In an operation with partner authorities from France and Luxembourg, three commercial properties in Munich and Hamburg with a total value of around 28 million euros were confiscated, the prosecutor’s office said.

In addition, shares in a Duesseldorf-based property company worth around 7 million euros were secured. Germany is considered to be one of the main countries worldwide in which illegally earned funds are fed into the economy through money laundering.

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