Middle East

Lebanon judge seizes property of central bank governor’s brother

A Lebanese investigative judge has ordered the seizure of properties belonging to Raja Salameh, the central bank governor’s brother, who was arrested last month and charged with complicity in illicit enrichment, a judicial source told Reuters.

A lawyer for Salameh, who was detained on 17 March, has denied the charges against him.

Central bank chief Riad Salameh, Raja’s older brother, was charged with illicit enrichment on 21 March. He also denies the charges against him.

Salameh, 71, has been governor of Lebanon’s central bank for nearly three decades. His tenure has faced increased scrutiny since the financial system imploded in 2019 in a collapse that has impoverished many Lebanese.

Riad Salameh also faces other investigations in Lebanon and at least five European countries including a Swiss inquiry over alleged aggravated money laundering at the central bank (BDL) involving $300 million in gains by a company owned by Raja Salameh.

He is a key member of a Lebanese government team that has been in talks with the IMF in the hope of negotiating a rescue deal, widely seen as the only way for the country to chart a path out of the meltdown.

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