Lebanon received Swiss request to cooperate on central bank inquiry - minister

A government official confirmed that Swiss authorities had opened an investigation into transfers by Salameh

  
Lebanon central bank is seen closed, after Lebanon declared a medical state of emergency as part of the preventive measures against the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Beirut, Lebanon March 17, 2020. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Lebanon central bank is seen closed, after Lebanon declared a medical state of emergency as part of the preventive measures against the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Beirut, Lebanon March 17, 2020. Image used for illustrative purpose.

REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

BEIRUT- Lebanon's central bank governor Riad Salameh on Tuesday denied any wrongdoing after a Lebanese government official told Reuters that Swiss authorities had opened an investigation into money transfers by him, his brother and an assistant.

"Both the prime minister and the president are in the loop on the European move," the government official said.

A statement by Salameh dismissed any allegations about transfers by him, his brother or assistant as "fabrications and false news".

Speaking in response to questions from Reuters about local media reports of an inquiry, Lebanese Justice Minister Marie Claude Najm said she had received a request for cooperation by Swiss judicial authorities. "I have submitted the request to the public prosecutor to do what is necessary," she said.

Lebanon is grappling with a deep financial crisis that has hammered the currency, spread poverty and prompted a sovereign debt default. The crippled banking system has cut people's access to their dollar accounts since last year.

Salameh, a former Merrill Lynch banker, has led Lebanon's central bank, Banque du Liban, since 1993.

(Reporting By Laila Bassam and Ellen Francis, writing By Maha El Dahan, Editing by William Maclean) ((Maha.Dahan@thomsonreuters.com; + 9712 4082101; Reuters Messaging: maha.dahan.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

More From Personal Law