The National Crime Agency (NCA) is being asked to investigate millions of pounds of UK assets and assets of Lebanese chief financial officers facing money laundering allegations.
Details of UK assets, businesses and investment instruments alleged that documents by a London-based lawyer were handed over to the NCA and that Lebanon’s central bank governor, members of his family, and associates were diverting funds from Lebanon. Was shown.
Riad Salameh, Lebanon’s central bank governor since 1993, has claimed “ideological and political motives” and assets come from independent wealth built and inherited in a successful 20-year career as a Merrill Lynch banker. Claims to be. money.
This line is a political predicament in Lebanon, symbolizing that the ammonium nitrate storage explosion in Beirut on August 14, 2020 killed more than 190 people, injured 6,500 and left about 300,000 homeless. Against the background of endemic corruption.
The paperwork was handed over to the NCA by Margaret Hodge, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Anti-Corruption, which campaigned against the use of UK registered companies to promote money laundering. “It’s important to evaluate these issues and investigate them as needed,” she said.
It was edited by a team led by Toby Cadman, head of the Guernica 37 Court, as part of a series of reports and investigations on alleged corruption in Lebanon on behalf of the Lebanese civil society group.
“Our intention is to address, investigate and uncover all the pillars of alleged corruption in the country,” he said.
The Sunday Telegraph’s report details investment vehicles and assets, including apartments, claimed to be owned by Mr. Salame and / or his family (£ 3.5 million in Broadwalk Park overlooking Hyde Park). is showing.
It claims that the property has not been acquired through legitimate commercial transactions in Lebanon and urges UK law enforcement agencies to begin an investigation. The report was also passed to Scotland Yard.
An NCA spokesman said, “We can confirm that we have received the report, but we do not regularly confirm or deny the existence of the investigation.”
Lebanon’s financial and political elite are increasingly scrutinizing to thwart alleged mismanagement and efforts to unleash international aid, especially as the explosion of chemicals in Beirut shattered the country’s already struggling economy. It has been.
The Swiss Attorney General’s office requested legal assistance from Lebanon earlier this year as part of an investigation into “deterioration of money laundering” and the possibility of embezzlement related to the Central Bank of Lebanon.
Mr. Salame answered the question by denying the fraudulent activity filed by the Lebanese prosecutor in January on behalf of the Swiss Attorney General.
In a statement, Mr. Salame denied “in the strongest words” the proposal that his property was anything other than a legitimate source.
He said his wealth analysis was based on “wrong or unfounded assumptions” and that he presented “documents” in public and on television to substantiate its origins.
“”[Prior to 1993], He was a successful banker at Merrill Lynch and had a monthly salary of about $ 165,000. His net worth was $ 23 million in addition to his inheritance, “a bank spokesman said.
“There is good reason to believe that these repeated attacks on Mr. Salame are politically and ideologically motivated.”
Previously welcomed by the IMF as a banking and financial “magician,” Salame has been involved in the legal and political struggle over the financial crisis that has plagued Lebanon in recent years.