Report: Salameh Will Not Be Arrested During Wednesday's Interrogation

Embattled Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh will attend Wednesday’s interrogation session at the Justice Palace but will not be detained, a senior judicial source said.

Salameh’s Lebanese lawyer and his legal counselor in France will also be present in the session, the source told al-Jadeed TV.

“Salameh’s interrogation session will not be held in Judge Charbel Abu Samra’s main office but rather in another hall in the Justice Palace, specifically in one of the Shura Council’s offices,” the TV network added.

It also said that Judge Helena Iskandar would meet with the European investigation delegation prior to the session to “coordinate the issue of the Lebanese state’s intervention in the foreign and Lebanese files and the protection of the Lebanese state’s rights.”

Judge Abu Samra had asked Salameh to appear before the visiting European investigators as part of a multinational probe into his personal wealth.

Salameh "has been summoned to appear at 10:00 am (0800 GMT) on Wednesday" before investigators from France, Luxembourg and Belgium, a Lebanese judicial official told AFP.

The embattled central bank chief faces embezzlement accusations in separate investigations in Lebanon and abroad, looking into the fortune he has amassed in a country mired in financial crisis.

He denies all accusations against him and has rarely appeared before the judiciary, despite numerous complaints and summonses.

Salameh had been summoned for questioning on Wednesday in the domestic case, but that session has been postponed to make way for the European investigators, according to the judicial official.

If he shows up, it would be the first time Salameh, 72, appears before European investigators probing suspected financial misconduct, including possible money laundering and embezzlement.

For procedural reasons, Lebanese judge Abu Samra would question Salameh in the presence of the European investigators, the official said.

France, Germany and Luxembourg in March last year seized assets worth 120 million euros ($130 million) in a move linked to a French probe into Salameh's personal wealth.

Lebanese authorities last month charged the three-decade central bank chief, who remains in his post, with embezzlement, money laundering and tax evasion.

In January, the European investigators interviewed banking officials in Beirut about the transfer of funds to countries where Salameh has significant assets.

They also examined the central bank's ties to Forry Associates Ltd, a British Virgin Islands-registered company that listed Salameh's brother as its beneficiary.

Forry is suspected of having brokered Lebanese treasury bonds and Eurobonds at a commission, which was then allegedly transferred to his bank accounts abroad.

Swiss media reported last month that 12 banks in the European country had received a large part of the money Salameh is alleged to have embezzled -- estimated at up to $500 million.

Head of the central bank since 1993, Salameh is part of the Lebanese political class widely blamed for a crushing economic crisis in Lebanon that began in late 2019.