Lebanon Receives Interpol Notice for Central Bank Governor
Interpol issued a "Red Notice" for Lebanon’s central bank governor Riad Salameh on Wednesday, which the country’s interior ministry received the following day and forwarded to the judiciary. Salameh is accused of embezzling hundreds of millions of public funds, which he denies.
- Interpol issued a "Red Notice" for Lebanon’s central bank governor Riad Salameh on Wednesday, which the country’s interior ministry received the following day and forwarded to the judiciary. Salameh is accused of embezzling hundreds of millions of public funds, which he denies.1
- Lebanese Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi said he will abide by whatever the judiciary recommends while calling for Salameh to resign. Lebanon’s deputy Prime Minister echoed the same sentiment, and the country’s senior leaders will discuss the issue at a consultative cabinet meeting Monday.2
- The notice comes shortly after France issued an arrest warrant for Salameh as part of its investigation into embezzlement. Red Notices are sent to law enforcement agencies seeking the location and arrest of fugitives around the world.3
- France, Germany, and Luxembourg have been investigating Salameh, his central bank associates, and other Lebanese financial institutions for laundering $330M. The governor was slated to appear in France on Tuesday for questioning, but he didn't show up.4
- Salameh is appealing the Interpol notice, saying that he didn’t receive the summons for in-person questioning in Paris. He says he won’t resign unless he’s convicted of a crime and claims that he generated his wealth through his former job as an investment banker.5
- Salameh has held his position as central bank governor for 30 years and has been partly blamed for igniting the economic crisis that’s plagued Lebanon since 2019. While he has come under fire, some experts believe the judiciary won’t extradite Salameh since he’s a member of Lebanon’s political elite.3
Sources: 1Reuters, 2Al Arabiya English, 3Al Jazeera, 4Associated Press, and 5ABC News.
- Narrative A, as provided by RFI. Riad Salame is one of Lebanon’s most sinister actors and holds a massive amount of responsibility for Lebanon’s financial crisis. Touted as a “financial wizard” and steward of Lebanon’s economy, Salameh betrayed his duty by orchestrating a Ponzi scheme to enrich himself and his inner circle. The evidence against Salameh is overwhelming — there are too many shady deals and too much money missing for it to be a coincidence. Salameh is a corrupt criminal, and he must be held accountable.
- Narrative B, as provided by This is Beirut. Political adversaries in Lebanon and Europe are targeting Riad Salameh, trying to sow discord in Lebanon’s financial markets and create rampant speculation that will yield easy profits. Salameh has complied with judiciaries in Lebanon and abroad and continues to maintain his innocence, and the French warrant against him violates the provisions of a previous Lebanese-French agreement. He has provided extensive documentation and will appeal the illegitimate French warrant.