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US, UK, And Canada Apply Global Sanctions On Riad Salameh And Associates For Financial Misconduct

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(CTN NEWS) – As per a recent announcement from the US Treasury Department, Lebanon’s former central bank governor, Riad Salameh, along with several close relatives and associates, has been subjected to sanctions by the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada.

The sanctions come as a response to allegations surrounding Salameh and his associates, who are under investigation in France, Germany, and Luxembourg for suspected financial wrongdoing, including illicit enrichment and money laundering totaling $330 million.

Interpol arrest warrants for Salameh were issued by Paris and Berlin in May, despite Lebanon’s non-extradition policy.

Global Sanctions Imposed on Lebanon’s Former Central Bank Chief and Associates

The US Treasury Department’s statement highlights that Salameh allegedly misused his position of authority, potentially violating Lebanese laws, in order to amass personal wealth and benefit his associates.

This was reportedly achieved by channeling hundreds of millions of dollars through complex networks of shell companies for investment in European real estate.

The sanctions have been coordinated jointly by the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada.

The assets linked to Salameh will be frozen, and the same list of individuals facing sanctions has been applied by the United Kingdom, except for Nady Salameh, and by Canada, which has sanctioned only Salameh, his brother, and Marianne Hoayek.

Riad Salameh has consistently denied allegations of corruption, embezzlement, and unlawful gain, attributing his wealth to inherited assets, investments, and his previous role as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch.

Allegations of Property Acquisition and Investigations Surround Former Lebanon Central Bank Governor

Salameh’s attorney did not promptly respond to an inquiry from the Associated Press seeking comment regarding the penalties.

US officials have stated that Salameh allegedly employed Panama-based shell companies and a trust in Luxembourg to obscure his identity in a scheme wherein he acquired shares in a company where his son Nady served as an investment advisor.

Subsequently, these shares were sold to a Lebanese bank authorized by the Central Bank.

The US Treasury characterized this as a conflict of interest and potentially a violation of a Lebanese regulation that bars central bank personnel from benefiting from private enterprises.

Raja, Salameh’s brother, has been accused of aiding his sibling’s fraudulent activities through Forry Associates Ltd, a brokerage firm he owns and which the US Treasury designated as a shell corporation in the Virgin Islands.

In the meantime, Marianne Howayek faces allegations of transferring hundreds of millions of dollars to the Salameh family from her bank account—an amount that significantly exceeded her central bank salary and raised suspicions.

Nady Salameh, identified as the “publicly registered officer” of Luxembourg-registered companies, has been sanctioned due to his involvement in purchasing tens of millions of dollars’ worth of upscale real estate via subsidiary entities located in Belgium and Germany.

Salameh Challenges European Inquiry, Citing Media and Political Bias in Negative Portrayal

Residing in France, Kosakova has been alleged to utilize funds from Forry Associates for the acquisition of luxurious properties in Paris, encompassing residences situated in upscale neighborhoods as well as an office building along the iconic Champs-Elysées avenue, designated as the central bank’s “continuity of operations” hub.

Simultaneously, Salameh is under investigation within Lebanon. Following the receipt of Interpol notifications, the Lebanese judiciary confiscated his passport and imposed a travel restriction on him.

Salameh has critiqued the European inquiry, asserting that it forms part of a concerted media and political effort to cast him in a negative light.

Once hailed as a guardian of Lebanon’s financial stability, Salameh has faced significant allegations for actions that are believed to have contributed to the country’s severe economic crisis, causing the Lebanese pound to plummet by nearly 90% against the US dollar and leading to triple-digit inflation.

While Lebanon has yet to designate a new central bank governor, Wassim Mansouri, a vice governor, has assumed the role of acting governor.

With a presidential vacuum persisting for almost a year, the country is being overseen by a caretaker Cabinet, wielding limited authority.

“The essential path to steer Lebanon toward the urgently needed economic resurgence involves the eradication of corruption by its leaders and the genuine implementation of reform measures,” remarked Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the UK’s Minister of State for the Middle East.

This statement was included in an announcement from the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office concerning the sanctions.

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Alishba Waris is an independent journalist working for CTN News. She brings a wealth of experience and a keen eye for detail to her reporting. With a knack for uncovering the truth, Waris isn't afraid to ask tough questions and hold those in power accountable. Her writing is clear, concise, and cuts through the noise, delivering the facts readers need to stay informed. Waris's dedication to ethical journalism shines through in her hard-hitting yet fair coverage of important issues.

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