Lebanese President Calls On Judges To Prosecute Central Bank Governor

Middle East Online

President Michel Aoun urges Lebanese judges to prosecute the Central Bank Governor, Riad Salameh. He calls on them to “rise up for their dignity and not to be afraid of the oppression of those in power.”

He asked them “to be completely liberated from any persuasion or intimidation,” specifically in the case of the prosecution of Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh.

His comments were made in a speech addressed to the judicial body on Tuesday.

“On June 9th and based on Article 13 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the competent judiciary initiated a public lawsuit against the defendant, the Governor of Banque du Liban, Riad Toufic Salameh, and his associates, for serious financial crimes,” Aoun said. “These are crimes of embezzlement, forgery, money laundering, illicit enrichment, and tax evasion.”

He continued: “Since then, judges have been divided, while those concerned evade responsibility without the prosecution being made in accordance with legal principles. Therefore, I demand the judiciary to be completely liberated from any inducement or intimidation, which are two offenses unworthy of the judicial authority.” 

The speech came after a Lebanese judge ordered the release of Bassam al-Sheikh Hussein from detention without charge. His case reflected the ongoing hardships of the Lebanese people under the banks’ capital control.

The World Bank has earlier accused Lebanese politicians of cruelty over deposit promises. It said in a report released at the beginning of August that: “Political slogans for the sacrosanct of deposits are hollow and opportunistic; in fact, the constant abuse of the term by politicians is cruel.” 

Related: World Bank Accuses Lebanese Politicians Of Cruelty Over Deposit Promises

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