The European judicial delegation completed the second phase of investigations into the file of the Governor of the Banque du Liban, Riad Salameh, and listened to him for two consecutive days, with a first session that lasted six hours, followed by a second session that lasted about three hours, during which it asked 196 questions related to the “Fawry” company accused of money laundering in a number of countries. European banks, in addition to his property abroad and the sources of his funds, and an apartment on the Champs-Elysées in Paris that had been rented by the Central Bank.
Judicial sources confirm that Salameh answered all the questions of the judicial delegation that were asked to him, and that none of the questions raised did not address financial policies or the crisis of Lebanese banks, indicating that he pledged that his legal representative would deliver all the required documents about his property and companies abroad through the Lebanese judiciary and the approved legal principles. Locally, pointing out that the European judicial delegation will return to Lebanon during the last week of next April to hear from both the ruler’s brother, Raja Salameh, and his assistant, Marianne Howayek, to follow up on the implementation of judicial letters of attorney.
And she revealed that while Salama was signing the investigation report, the French judge, Aud Borouzi, informed him verbally that he must attend a session before her on May 15 next in Paris, but the first investigating judge in Beirut, Charbel Abu Samra, demanded that the French judge follow the rules in Summons him through a new judicial delegation by the Cassation Public Prosecution.
After listening to him in the Palace of Justice, the Governor of the Banque du Liban, Riad Salameh, issued a statement in which he indicated that he had confirmed during the session the evidence and documents that he had submitted to the judiciary in Lebanon and abroad with an accurate explanation of them, and said that he had informed the European investigators that no money had been transferred. General to the “Fawry” company owned by his brother, and that no money from the Central Bank entered his personal account.
He added, “It appears from these statements that my personal account at the Banque du Liban is not linked to the accounts in which funds belonging to the bank are deposited, and funds from the Banque du Liban were not transferred to my account,” noting that his transfers abroad, whatever their amount, came from his personal account, and he said, “I have For more than two years, I felt bad faith and a thirst for prosecution against me.”
He continued, “Bad intent appeared through a continuous media campaign adopted by some media outlets and civil groups, among which created the demand to provide news at home and abroad, in order to put pressure on the judiciary and outbid it. Civilians, journalists, and lawyers claiming to be judges, have been tried and ruled based on facts that they fabricated.” Some politicians accompanied them for the sake of populism, believing that this protects them from suspicions and accusations, or that it helps them obliterate their past, or gives them an excuse for their failures in facing and resolving the crisis, forgetting that homelands are not built on lies.
Away from the details of the investigations, Salama’s appearance before the judiciary for the first time since he assumed the presidency of the Banque du Liban 30 years ago raised questions about the impact of these investigations on the Lebanese political class, given the prevailing view that members of the ruling elite fear that Salama’s fall will have repercussions for them.
Sources close to Salameh indicate that some of the political figures who have always had a close relationship with him began to distance themselves from him with the start of the Lebanese and European investigations, which began to worry him that he would turn into a “scapegoat” on behalf of the ruling class. Lebanon throughout the post-Lebanese civil war period.
Representative Jamil Al-Sayyed Salama called for exposing the “mafia” before it killed him, and he said in a tweet that “Riyad Salama is not alone responsible and focusing on him alone is a perversion of justice. My advice to him: Expose their names and protect yourself before they kill you to obliterate the truth and protect their heads.”
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Close sources commented on the haste of deputies and officials of the Free Patriotic Movement announcing the celebration of the “imaginary” victory, just because it appeared before the European investigators, likening those celebrations that they expressed in their official positions or on social media, to the shows they make by moving Judge Ghada Aoun in a file. sinks and safety.
Representative Ghassan Atallah had considered that European judges were victorious during the era of former President Michel Aoun, who was confronted by the system that controls the economy in the country.
The claim is inevitable
In the context, the CEO of the Juriscal Foundation, Sabine El Kik, indicated that the suspicions about Riad Salameh are heading towards the inevitability of prosecuting him before the European judiciary, stressing that the Europeans have clear data, pointing to the need to separate the domestic and European investigation paths, as the latter will reach the desired results. Within the limits of the international view, it will not address the corridors of Lebanese politics, and this may not satisfy the Lebanese people aspiring to reach the whole truth, but it will break the aura of impunity that prevailed over the past decades.
And she saw that the Lebanese judiciary deals with most of the files in light of the political influence and the involvement of some judges with the corrupt system, hoping that the Lebanese judiciary would be professional and serious regarding Salama’s interrogation, away from maneuvers with the aim of proving his credibility and restoring his prestige.
The end of the era
In the opinion of the economist Antoine Farah, regardless of the results of the European or local investigations, the Salama era has ended, considering that entering into a very important stage of political regularity in order to clear the way for the appointment of an authentic ruler and the start of a new stage.
And fear of an additional economic catastrophe that will befall the country if the political conditions are not stable, as the “Shiite duo” may refuse to receive the ball of fire, and therefore the first deputy ruler resigns, which leads to the dissolution of the Central Council that runs the Banque du Liban, so resorting to a judicial guard becomes. Inevitably, which means that the chaos prevailing in the country will also withdraw from the Banque du Liban, and we will be facing a long vacuum that opens the way for widespread monetary chaos.