Luxembourg asks Lebanon for information on the finances of the head of the central bank -Lebanese source

Lebanon’s Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh speaks during a news conference at the Central Bank in Beirut, Lebanon November 11, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

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BEIRUT, Feb 5 (Reuters) – Lebanon has received a letter from the Luxembourg authorities requesting information about the bank accounts and assets of the head of the Central Bank of Lebanon, Riad Salameh, a senior Lebanese judicial source confirmed to Reuters. .

The source did not specify.

A Luxembourg justice spokesman confirmed to Reuters in November that he had opened “a criminal case” concerning Salameh and his companies and assets, declining to provide further information at the time.

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On Friday, a Luxembourg justice spokesman and the Lebanese justice minister did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

When asked to comment, Salameh told Reuters the request for cooperation was “normal procedure” and not a “legal action”.

“If they had taken legal action, they don’t need help with the investigation,” he said.

Salameh denied reports that he had been charged by Luxembourg authorities and said Switzerland and France had previously requested similar cooperation from Lebanon.

A spokesperson for the French Embassy in Lebanon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Switzerland’s attorney general’s office said last year it had sought legal assistance from Lebanon in an investigation into “aggravated money laundering” and possible embezzlement of more than $300 million. under Salameh at the central bank.

France and Liechtenstein have also opened investigations into allegations of money laundering in connection with Salameh.

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Reporting by Laila Bassam and Timour Azhari in Beirut Writing by Timour Azhari Editing by Jane Wardell and Matthew Lewis

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