BEIRUT — The brother of central bank Governor Riad Salameh, Raja Salameh, who has been in detention since Thursday, was questioned Tuesday at the Justice Palace in Beirut by the deputy prosecutor at the Court of Cassation, Jean Tannous, a judicial source confirmed to L’Orient Today.
Here’s what we know:
• The questioning relates to a case involving Forry Associates Ltd, a company registered in the British Virgin Islands in 2001 and of which Raja Salameh is the economic beneficiary.
• A Swiss investigation concluded that Forry Associates was linked with the Lebanese central bank by a brokerage contract through which it had obtained, between 2002 and 2015, $330 million in commissions on the sale of Banque du Liban financial securities (Treasury Bonds and Eurobonds).
• An investigation conducted in Lebanon by Judge Tannous is specifically looking into these suspicious transfers. When contacted by Reuters, the governor of BDL had said a month ago that the commissions in these contracts were transparent and approved by the board of directors of the central bank, and that no complaint had been issued at the time.
• Mount Lebanon Public Prosecutor Judge Ghada Aoun on Monday ordered the seizure of Raja Salameh's real estate asset.
• The judge also moved to prosecute Raja and Riad Salameh for illicit enrichment in another case. This accusation concerns apartments acquired in France by Riad Salameh, as well as real estate offices rented by BDL from a former companion of the governor on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées in Paris.
• The magistrate also prosecuted Raja Salameh for involvement in this investigation, as well as Anna Kosakova, the former companion in question. Three companies are also prosecuted in this context, SCI ZEL, Eciffice and BET SA.
• Raja Salameh was to appear on Tuesday before the first investigating judge at the Court of Appeal of Mount Lebanon, Nicolas Mansour, in this case. However, the interrogation was postponed, as a notary working with the magistrate contracted COVID-19.