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Lebanon’s Central Bank Chief Appears Before Corruption Hearing

He had been scheduled to appear at the hearing on Wednesday, but refused to attend, arguing that the presence of the European investigators was “in conflict with [Lebanon’s] national sovereignty”.

Salameh, 72, is part of the Lebanese political elite widely blamed for a crushing economic crisis that began in late 2019 and that the World Bank has dubbed one of the worst in recent history.

He faces allegations of crimes including embezzlement in separate probes in Lebanon and abroad, with investigators examining the fortune he has amassed during three decades on the job.

Salameh has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

France, Germany and Luxembourg seized assets worth 120 million euros ($127m) in March last year in a move linked to a French probe into Salameh’s personal wealth.

The European investigation is looking into allegations of financial misconduct, including possible money laundering and embezzlement.

The delegation has submitted some 100 questions to Lebanese Judge Charbel Abu Samra, who for procedural reasons will do the questioning in the presence of the European officials, a separate judicial source had previously told AFP.

Salameh is appearing “as a witness” and will not be charged or arrested, the second source said, adding that the chief of the central bank – called the Banque du Liban – could face several days of questioning.

Source: Al Jazeera