BEIRUT - Lebanon has frozen the bank accounts of former central bank governor Riad Salameh and four of his associates, a statement by the Special Investigation Commission said on Monday.
Lebanon has also lifted banking secrecy on the accounts of all five individuals, which include Salameh, his brother Raja, his son Nady, his former assistant Marianne Hoayek and Anna Kosakova, with whom Riad has a daughter, the statement said.
Salameh served as central bank governor in Lebanon from 1993 until July 31. He faces arrest warrants in France and Germany following investigations into whether he and his brother took $330 million in public funds from the Lebanese central bank while he was governor.
The brothers and Hoayek have all been charged in Lebanon over embezzlement and other financial crimes.
The Salameh brothers deny the charges. Nady Salameh has not responded to Reuters requests for comment. Lawyers for Hoayek and Kosakova have also not responded to Reuters requests for comment.
Salameh, in messages to Reuters, denied the allegations made by the three sanctioning countries and said he would challenge them. Some of his assets had already been frozen in previous investigations, he said.
In March 2022, the European Union's criminal justice cooperation organization announced the freezing of some 120 million euros($130 million) of Lebanese assets in France, Germany, Luxembourg, Monaco and Belgium, in a case in which Munich prosecutors said Salameh was a suspect.
In July, the French judiciary transferred seized assets belonging to Salameh and his associates to the Lebanese state.
According to Lebanese law, the Special Investigation Commission is headed by the central bank governor. In the absence of an appointed successor for Salameh, first vice governor Wassim Mansouri heads the institution as acting governor. Monday’s statement was signed by Mansouri.
(Reporting by Maya Gebeily and Laila Bassam; editing by Christina Fincher)