Riad Salameh Protects His Life with Information Smuggled out of Lebanon

Longtime chief of Lebanon's Central Bank Riad Salameh, poses as he leaves office after a 30-year tenure, at Lebanon's Central Bank building in Beirut, Lebanon July 31, 2023. (Reuters)
Longtime chief of Lebanon's Central Bank Riad Salameh, poses as he leaves office after a 30-year tenure, at Lebanon's Central Bank building in Beirut, Lebanon July 31, 2023. (Reuters)
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Riad Salameh Protects His Life with Information Smuggled out of Lebanon

Longtime chief of Lebanon's Central Bank Riad Salameh, poses as he leaves office after a 30-year tenure, at Lebanon's Central Bank building in Beirut, Lebanon July 31, 2023. (Reuters)
Longtime chief of Lebanon's Central Bank Riad Salameh, poses as he leaves office after a 30-year tenure, at Lebanon's Central Bank building in Beirut, Lebanon July 31, 2023. (Reuters)

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.



Israeli Strikes Reportedly Target Hezbollah Ammunition Depot in Lebanon

Lebanese army soldiers check the wreckage of a vehicle after an Israeli airstrike targeted the area near the village of Burj al-Muluk, some 18 kms from the town of Nabatiyeh on July 20, 2024.  (Photo by Rabih DAHER / AFP)
Lebanese army soldiers check the wreckage of a vehicle after an Israeli airstrike targeted the area near the village of Burj al-Muluk, some 18 kms from the town of Nabatiyeh on July 20, 2024. (Photo by Rabih DAHER / AFP)
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Israeli Strikes Reportedly Target Hezbollah Ammunition Depot in Lebanon

Lebanese army soldiers check the wreckage of a vehicle after an Israeli airstrike targeted the area near the village of Burj al-Muluk, some 18 kms from the town of Nabatiyeh on July 20, 2024.  (Photo by Rabih DAHER / AFP)
Lebanese army soldiers check the wreckage of a vehicle after an Israeli airstrike targeted the area near the village of Burj al-Muluk, some 18 kms from the town of Nabatiyeh on July 20, 2024. (Photo by Rabih DAHER / AFP)

Israeli strikes late on Saturday targeted a depot storing ammunition belonging to Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, three security sources told Reuters.

The strikes on the town of Adloun, about 40 km north of Lebanon's border with Israel, set off a string of loud explosions heard by witnesses across the south of Lebanon.

At least four civilians in Adloun were wounded in the strikes, a medical source and a security source told Reuters.

Hezbollah said that its fighters fired dozens of rockets into northern Israel on Saturday, targeting a kibbutz for the first time in nine months in retaliation for an Israeli drone strike earlier in the day that wounded several people including children.
Also Saturday, Hamas said it fired rockets from Lebanon toward an Israeli army post in the northern Israeli village of Shomera in retaliation for the “Zionists massacres” in the Gaza Strip. Hamas has carried out such attacks form Lebanon over the past several months, but they have been rare.
Hezbollah’s attack with dozens of Katyusha rockets on the northern Israeli kibbutz of Dafna came few hours after an Israeli drone strike hit a car in the southern Lebanese village of Burj al-Muluk, and shrapnel from the missile wounded several people who were standing nearby. The state-run National News Agency said that the wounded civilians are Syrian citizens and they included children.

The Israeli military said that about 45 projectiles were detected crossing from Lebanon into northern Israel in three separate barrages. It said that some were intercepted, while others fell in open areas, causing no injuries, but triggering several fires in the Golan Heights.