Washington, Aug 10 (EFE).- The United States Thursday sanctioned the former governor of the Central Bank of Lebanon, Riad Salameh, because his “corrupt and unlawful actions have contributed to the breakdown of the rule of law” in the West Asian country.
The United Kingdom and Canada joined the US in imposing sanctions on Salameh and his four close associates, including members of his family and his primary assistant, “who helped to conceal and facilitate this corrupt activity.”
A statement from the Treasury Department’s Office of Asset Control (OFAC) accused Salameh of abusing his position of power, likely in violation of Lebanese law.”
“(Salameh) enrich(ed) himself and his associates by funneling hundreds of millions of dollars through layered shell companies to invest in European real estate,” the statement said.
“Salameh contributed to Lebanon’s endemic corruption and perpetuated the perception that elites in Lebanon need not abide by the same rules that apply to all Lebanese people,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson.
“He used his position to place his financial interests and ambitions above those of the people he served, even as the economic crisis in Lebanon worsened.”
Salameh’s brother, Raja, his son Nady, his assistant, Marianne Hoayek, and his former partner, Anna Kosakova, were among the sanctioned.
The Treasury Department said Salameh diverted Central Bank funds to accounts of fictitious companies registered in their names in European countries such as France, Germany, and Luxembourg.
They allegedly used those funds to purchase luxury properties, including apartments for Anna and Salameh in one of Paris’ most sought-after neighborhoods, and an office building on the Champs-Elysées.
Salameh led the Central Bank of Lebanon consecutively from 1993 to 2019.
Experts attribute the economic crisis Lebanon is going through to his policies. EFE