Financial prosecutors in the French capital opened a preliminary probe into alleged money laundering and criminal association, according to a judicial source and a source familiar with the investigation, cited by AFP.
The probe started after criminal complaints were lodged against Salameh, including one by Accountability Now, a Swiss foundation with a mission to support Lebanese civil society in holding corrupt leaders accountable for their actions.
Two more complaint that contributed to the birth of the investigation were filed by SHERPA, an organization that has been fighting economic and financial crimes since 2001, and the Collective of Victims of Fraudulent and Criminal Practices in Lebanon, which was set up by depositors affected by the crisis in Lebanon.
The French probe signals the start of what lawyers for SHERPA and the aforementioned Collective described as “a universal mega-investigation across Europe.”
“Enormous money laundering operations will be examined, which out to open every nook and cranny of the mafia that has brought Lebanon to its knees,” the lawyers said.
France’s move comes after Switzerland began investigating transactions allegedly linked to Salameh, his brother Raja, and his associate Marianne Hoayek.