Lebanese judge lifts travel ban on central bank governor


Judge Ghada Aoun on Thursday lifted a travel restriction she had imposed on the country’s central bank governor, Riad Salameh, in January 2022, clearing the way for him to appear at a scheduled hearing in Paris on May 16 before French prosecutors.

Aoun had issued the travel ban against the backdrop of a lawsuit accusing Salameh of embezzlement and dereliction of duty during Lebanon’s financial meltdown. The French prosecutors have opened their own probe into alleged money laundering.

Aoun had conveyed her plans to rescind the ban to the Associated Press on Wednesday. On Thursday, a judicial official speaking on the condition of anonymity confirmed that the ban had been lifted and the General Security agency, responsible for border control, had been informed.

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It wasn’t immediately clear if Salameh was aware of the travel ban being lifted and if he would travel to Paris next month for the scheduled hearing.

In connection with a money laundering probe of $330 million, a delegation of investigators from Luxembourg, Germany, and France arrived in the Lebanese capital city of Beirut in January to question Salameh and others from the country’s financial and banking sector.

The investigators are expected to return to Lebanon later this April.

Authorities in the three European countries froze over $130 million in assets connected to the probe in March 2022.

Salameh, whose term is set to expire this July, has been in office for almost 30 years. He once used to be called the guardian of Lebanon’s monetary stability and applauded for successfully steering the country’s finances through periods of unrest. But since Lebanon’s economic meltdown began in 2019, Salameh has come under intense scrutiny.

A number of experts have now started questioning his monetary policies. The Lebanese pound, which for many years used to trade at 1,500 pounds to $1, is now pegged to the US dollar at an official rate of 15,000 pounds to $1, while the black market rate is set at 100,000.



Hashim Sheikh: He is a comprehensive personality whose personality has many social, philosophical and mystical aspects besides scientific and cultural characteristics. He writes many articles and also writes poetry from time to time.

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