Former governor of Lebanon’s Central Bank (BdL) Riad Salameh has yet to be handed the summons for his court date on August 29.
A judicial source told Asharq Al-Awsat that the court has not received a reply to the summons. A security patrol that tasked with delivering it had not found him at his Rabieh residence.
This would be the second time that the former governor skips a court hearing.
The source revealed that Salameh owns two other homes, one in Jounieh and another in Safra. This doesn’t necessarily mean that he will be found there to be handed the summons, it added.
On the court’s next move should he fail to appear before it, the source said there is still time for the summons to be delivered.
Salameh has avoided the spotlight since his 30-year tenure at the Central Bank ended in July. This has raised questions about whether he fears for his life given the wealth of information he has about alleged illicit dealings in state.
The Financial Times reported that Salameh “having left the BdL ‘with secrets in tow’, a senior politician says, he has made known they are scattered on flash drives outside the country ‘should something bad happen to him’.”
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Salameh’s legal representative Hafez Zakkour did not confirm or deny the information. He added that Salameh hasn’t received his court summons yet.
The revelations indicate that Salameh’s life may be in danger. Official Lebanese circles are taking the claims seriously, while an informed judicial source said the FT report was “very accurate”.
He told Asharq Al-Awsat that Salameh has recorded videos, backed by documents, detailing the financial operations that had taken place at BdL during his time in office. He also named influential people, including politicians and judges, who were involved.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source described Salameh’s move as “very smart because it protects him from any physical harm”. In all likelihood, the information in his possession will be posted on the internet should any harm happen to him.
Moreover, this information has been passed on the European and American judiciaries after the US Treasury slapped sanctions on Salameh and his close associates over their illicit dealings.
There appears to be an insistence on revealing the identity of the influential people who benefited from the BdL funds and who were involved in money laundering schemes, added the source.
The involvement of American prosecutors in the case would facilitate uncovering the influential figures who were complicit with Salameh in squandering public funds.
The American probe will be more effective than the European investigation because the American have the complete information about the movement of dollars and transactions from Lebanon to Europe, the US and other countries.