The United States Might Be Putting Sanctions On Riad Salameh

Mohamad Azakir

The United States is contemplating whether or not to imposed sanctions on Lebanon’s central bank governor Riad Salameh as part of an investigation into the alleged embezzlement of public funds, reported Bloomberg on Thursday.

“Officials within the Biden administration have discussed the possibility of coordinated measures with their European counterparts targeting Riad Salameh,” Bloomberg revealed, citing four people familiar with the matter who wanted to remain anonymous.

According to these people, discussions have focused on possibly “freezing Salameh’s overseas assets and enacting measures that would curtail his ability to do business abroad.”

This would lead to Salameh‘s imminent fall from grace; from a once-celebrated figure in the world of finance and banking to an alleged acting member of corruption among Lebanon‘s elite.

This wouldn’t be the first time the U.S. considered taking such action against the governor. According to Bloomberg, the possibility emerged last year, however, at the time, now-former President Donald Trump was more interested in countering Iran and its proxies like Hezbollah. It also sanctioned Gebran Bassil.

In contrast, Bloomberg reported, that the Biden administration is focused on emphasizing accountability on corruption and human rights abuses. This leaves practically no Lebanese official safe from the wrath of U.S. sanctions.

Salameh has been one of the leading figures in the Lebanese financial scene for the past three decades. While there are debates about his role in Lebanon’s economic crisis, the general consensus is that he is equally at fault.

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