Lebanese central bank chief suspected in €120m asset freeze case – German prosecutor
Property and bank accounts, linked to five people suspected of embezzling some $330 million, were seized in France, Germany, Luxembourg, Monaco and Belgium, Eurojust said in a statement, which did not identified no suspects.
An email from Munich prosecutors said the Eurojust statement referred to investigations into Governor Salameh, whose wealth is under investigation in at least five European states and who was charged last week. last by a Lebanese judge of illicit enrichment.
A spokesman for Eurojust declined to comment further and declined to name the suspects, as per regulations.
“Despite the outcome of the day of action, the suspects in the main investigation are presumed innocent until proven guilty, in accordance with the law,” the statement from Eurojust read.
Salameh, a governor for nearly three decades, has previously denied the charges against him.
A central bank spokesman did not respond to a request for comment on Monday. A lawyer for Riad Salameh did not immediately respond to emailed questions from Reuters on Monday.
Eurojust was involved in coordinating meetings between countries investigating Salameh, who Swiss prosecutors suspect embezzled some $330 million with his brother, Raja, according to a letter the Swiss attorney general sent to Lebanese officials l last year, which was seen by Reuters.
Germany, France, Luxembourg and Lichtenstein are also investigating Salameh.
A diplomat from one of the countries where the assets were seized confirmed that the asset freeze was linked to investigations into Salameh and his brother Raja.
The Eurojust statement said the assets seized included some 35 million euros in Germany, including properties in Hamburg and Munich, two building complexes in Paris worth 16 million euros and Monegasque bank accounts of worth 46 million euros.
The case in which Riad Salameh was indicted in Lebanon is linked to the purchase and rental of Parisian apartments, some of which at the central bank.
Denying charges against him in Lebanon last week, Salameh told Reuters he had ordered an audit which showed public funds were not a source of his wealth.
His brother, Raja, has been arrested for more than a week for complicity in the same case.
A lawyer for Raja Salameh has called the accusation against his client unfounded.
($1 = 0.9121 euros)
(Reporting by Timour Azhari in Beirut, David Villars-Gauthier in Turkey and Christina Amann in Germany; Writing by Timour Azhari and Tom Perry; Editing by John Stonestreet, Ed Osmond and David Evans)