BEIRUT — Lichtenstein's judicial authorities have opened an investigation for “money laundering” in relation to Lebanese central bank governor Riad Salameh, journalistic network Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project reported on Thursday night.
Here's what we know:
• The information was confirmed by Liechtenstein's prosecutor general, Robert Wallner, in an email to OCCRP.
• Lichtenstein is the fourth country to probe Salameh — France, Luxembourg and Switzerland have all also opened investigations. The news comes only a few days after reports that a criminal case was opened by judicial authorities in Luxembourg in relation to Salameh's financial dealings.
• Salameh has repeatedly denied any allegations of wrongdoing, most recently claiming he had asked a “reputable firm” to conduct an audit into investments and transactions that have been subject to media speculation. A chartered accountant contacted by L'Orient-Le Jour on Wednesday had questioned the credibility of such an audit procedure, calling it “biased.”
• The central bank governor faces growing scrutiny for his role in Lebanon’s economic meltdown. Salameh in a statement on Wednesday maintained the source of his wealth had been “clear and documented,” explaining that he was a “successful banker at Merrill Lynch” for nearly 20 years with an annual income of around $2 million before he left in 1993.