Salameh attends questioning session over Interpol red notice
Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh arrived Wednesday at the Justice Palace to appear before Attorney General Judge Imad Qabalan over an Interpol red notice issued against him in France over corruption charges.
The Lebanese Judiciary also received an arrest warrant from Germany, and cabinet on Friday will decide whether or not to dismiss Salameh from his post.
Caretaker Minister of Justice Henry Khoury said he was surprised how the government tried to evade its responsibilities during a consultative ministerial meeting over Salameh last week. He said Salameh must be dismissed and criticized the government for "throwing the ball into the judiciary's court."
He said Lebanon will not hand Salameh over to France, as Lebanon does not hand its citizens to foreign countries, therefore the case will be overseen in Lebanon.
Free Patriotic Movement MP George Atallah also blamed caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati and caretaker Finance Minister Youssef Khalil for not dismissing Salameh.
Khalil has clearly announced that he is against the dismissal of Salameh.
"Politicians who are involved in Salameh's actions are fearing for their fate," Lebanese Forces MP George Adwan said, as he urged Salameh to expose all the culprits.
Salameh has repeatedly denied all corruption allegations, saying he made his wealth from his years working as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch, inherited properties, and investments.
Salameh has held his post for almost 30 years and intends to step down after his current term ends in July. He said he would only resign if convicted of a crime.
Ideally a new governor would be appointed immediately should Salameh resign or be removed. But if no consensus could be immediately reached on a candidate, the central bank’s first vice-governor Wassim Mansouri would automatically take over as a temporary replacement, a step that Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said he refuses.
All they did was sip premium arabica coffee and talk about their families and kids. They probably discussed how the best techniques to circumvent the sanctions and how to stash money abroad in 2023. Every single magistrate is no better than Salameh, they’re all rotten.