Lebanon’s Central Bank governor denies corruption accusations

Lebanese Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh denied on Tuesday accusations of corruption while assuring that he is assuming his full duties and responsibilities to the Lebanese people.

“There exist institutions that can hold the corrupt people and politicians accountable for their wrongdoings. The easiest thing to do is to throw accusations at the central bank governor because he is independent and he is not affiliated with any political party,” Salameh was quoted by the Al-Hadath news channel as saying in a televised interview.

Salameh also denied the news circulating all over the media about the loss of the depositors’ money in the banks, assuring that the deposits are still in the banks “since no bank has declared its bankruptcy yet.”

“The money still exists and you can ask about the volume of real estates and assets purchased by the Lebanese in the past year,” he said.

Lebanon has been suffering from a shortage in U.S. dollars for the past year, prompting Lebanese banks to impose unofficial capital control to limit withdrawals of both U.S. dollars and Lebanese pounds from banks.

Accusations against Salameh increased following his refusal to hand over documents required by the international auditing firm Alvarez & Marsal to conduct forensic auditing of the central bank. He argued that the provisions on protecting bank secrecy under the Monetary and Credit Law prevent the handover of such documents.