Lebanon's Central Bank Governor faces European delegation in Beirut

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2023-03-16 | 10:53
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Lebanon's Central Bank Governor faces European delegation in Beirut
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3min
Lebanon's Central Bank Governor faces European delegation in Beirut

In a discreetly disguised taxi and accompanied by another vehicle, Lebanon's Central Bank Governor Riyad Salameh arrived at the Beirut Palace of Justice on Thursday morning. At 10:30 am, he entered one of the Shura Council's chambers for a scheduled hearing before a European delegation.

Notably, Salameh attended the meeting alone, without lawyers, and faced two delegations: one French judicial-security delegation, also representing Belgium and Luxembourg, and another diplomatic delegation from the German embassy. Investigative Judge Charbel Abu Samra posed around 80 questions on behalf of the European delegation in the presence of the head of the legal department, and Salameh answered them all without any hesitation.

The prevailing impression was that the governor had nerves of steel, appearing composed, calm, and mentally present. The questions centered on his activities since taking office, his responsibilities, the Central Bank's activities, and its market interventions.

Salameh's legal justifications for each activity were ready, as he demonstrated to the judges that decisions were covered by the Council of Ministers, Finance Ministers, the government commissioner to the Central Bank, and the Central Council according to their respective powers. He was also asked about the commissions suspected of being collected by the company Forry, the nature of the business owned by the governor's brother, and his accounts in Lebanon and abroad.

The governor replied that he had declared his wealth in accordance with the financial disclosure law, from the time he took office until today, before the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers. The session lasted for approximately six hours, and a second session was scheduled for Friday morning, from 9 am to 1 pm, as the governor had an appointment with the World Bank.

As for the Europeans who intended to listen to his brother Raja and Marianne Howayek, they will do so later, as they do not plan to extend their mission in Beirut, which ends on Saturday.

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