An anti-corruption group has submitted a legal complaint in France against Lebanon’s central bank governor over foreign investments including property he owns worth millions of euros, two people involved in the filing said on Monday.
Sherpa, a non-governmental organization that defends victims of economic crimes, said in a statement that it and a group of lawyers had filed the complaint on Friday over “suspicious” real estate purchases in France.
Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh told Reuters he had proved and shown documents on many occasions highlighting that the source of his wealth was acquired before taking up his post in 1993.
“I have also declared that my properties in France were acquired prior to being governor,” he said.
Salameh’s brother, son and an associate are also named in the legal complaint, said Laura Rousseau, head of the illicit financial flows program at Sherpa.
“We are targeting the ill-gotten gains acquired in France and more specifically we are targeting the numerous investments overseas that make the suspicious origins of his (Salameh’s) fortune in France,” she told Reuters.
Lebanon’s financial and political elite have long been under scrutiny over allegations of mismanagement, corruption and obstructing efforts to unlock international aid.
It is the latest complaint filed on suspected Lebanese corruption to authorities in Europe.
Salameh has dismissed previous corruption allegations against him as a smear campaign.
The 81-page complaint in France, seen by Reuters, outlines what it says are assets, companies and investment vehicles across Europe worth hundreds of millions of euros which it alleges Salameh, members of his family and his associates used over years to divert funds out of Lebanon.
France’s National Financial Prosecutor, where the compliant was filed with the Collective Association of Victims of Fraudulent and Criminal Practices in Lebanon, was not immediately available for comment.