Lebanon’s caretaker Justice Minister Henri Khoury reiterated on Tuesday his call on Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh to resign.
Salameh, 72, is being investigated in Lebanon and at least five European countries for allegedly taking hundreds of millions of dollars from Lebanon's central bank to the detriment of the Lebanese state and laundering the funds abroad.
Germany informed Lebanon it has issued an arrest warrant for Salameh on corruption charges, including forgery, money laundering and embezzlement, a senior judicial source told Reuters on Tuesday.
A second source familiar with the matter confirmed the arrest warrant to Reuters. Salameh has denied any wrongdoing.
It is the second foreign arrest warrant reported to be issued for Salameh within a week. France issued a warrant for his arrest on May 16 after he failed to show up for a Paris court hearing.
On France's request, Interpol issued a Red Notice for Salameh, citing charges of money laundering, fraud and participation in a criminal association with a view to committing offenses punishable by 10 years of imprisonment.
Salameh said he would challenge the French arrest warrant.
Khoury told Asharq Al-Awsat that Salameh must resign given the charges against him. “It is not right for him to remain in his post,” he added.
At the same time, however, the minister said Lebanon will not turn in Salameh to Europe, citing Lebanese laws that bar the handing over of citizens to another country.
Salameh will therefore stand trial in Lebanon, he added.
Salameh was previously charged with corruption in two separate cases in Lebanon, which include formal accusations of embezzlement, money laundering and fraud.
He has denied those charges and said they are politically motivated.
The Munich public prosecutor’s office said it was involved in the case but declined to comment on the arrest warrant. “We never comment on arrest warrants,” a spokesperson for the office told Reuters.
Salameh, who has been central bank governor for 30 years, is facing growing calls to resign ahead of his latest term ending in July, though Lebanon's caretaker Cabinet took no decision on the matter during a Monday meeting that discussed his case.