BEIRUT — After skipping his scheduled hearings three times, Raja Salameh, the brother of Banque du Liban governor Riad Salameh, finally underwent questioning Thursday by European investigators probing alleged corruption.
The hearing was taking place at the Beirut Justice Palace, in the presence of Beirut's first investigating judge Charbel Abu Samra, and is expected to last several hours.
Abu Samra and the European judicial delegation questioned Raja on the charges against him, including money laundering that occurred within European jurisdictions.
Raja previously skipped his scheduled hearings two times due to reported health reasons. His lawyer requested the third hearing, which Raja also skipped, to be postponed until Thursday, local media outlets reported.
The European investigators on Wednesday questioned central bank senior director Raja Abou Asli.
The French, German and Luxembourgian investigators are also scheduled Thursday to question Nada Makhlouf, who will be the third BDL auditor they question this week.
Last week, the visiting judges held two hearings with Marianne Hoayek — Riad Salameh’s former assistant and, along with Raja Salameh, his alleged co-conspirator in defrauding the central bank — according to charges filed against her by a Lebanese judge.
The trio is suspected of having embezzled hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of BDL funds that were allegedly stored in European real estate and bank deposits. These funds were seized amid probes into the central bank chief by at least five European countries. Salameh and his associates have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
Additional reporting contributed by Claude Assaf