BEIRUT — Banque du Liban Governor Riad Salameh told Swiss television station SRF 1 on Wednesday that he is ready and willing “to travel to Switzerland to testify” in the ongoing money laundering case against him, claiming that the allegations against him are “politically motivated.”
Here’s what we know:
• "I have already told the Swiss judiciary that I will testify. I'm ready. I'm just waiting for the call," Salameh said, adding that he has “a clear conscience.”
• A Swiss criminal investigation into Riad Salameh, accused of “aggravated money laundering in connection with possible embezzlement to the detriment of the Banque du Liban,” was confirmed in April 2021. The case centers around a possible conflict of interest regarding brokerage fees paid by Banque du Liban to Forry Associates Ltd., connected to the central bank governor’s brother Raja Salameh.
• During the interview, Riad Salameh denied that he and his brother’s businesses were interlinked saying “[Raja] does his business, I do mine.”
• Questioned about two Swiss companies, dubbed “shell companies” by SRF 1, that have invested $10 million in real estate from the central bank chief, he said that the purchases were made through “professional advisors” and that he “never visited the properties.”
• SRF 1’s report claimed that Swiss investigators were following up on Riad Salameh’s accounts at Julius Baer, HSBS, UBS, Credit Suisse, Pictet and EFG.
• Riad Salameh is implicated in several investigations, notably in France, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. In Lebanon, Mount Lebanon Public Prosecutor Judge Ghada Aoun recently accused Riad Salameh and his entourage of illicit enrichment in connection with apartments acquired in France by the governor of the BDL, as well as real estate offices rented by the central bank from a former companion of the governor in Paris. His brother, Raja Salameh, is also being prosecuted for his involvement in this investigation, as is Anna Kosakova, the former companion in question. Three companies, SCI ZEL, Eciffice and BET SA, are also being prosecuted in this context.