A senior judicial source said today, Thursday, that Charbel Abou Samra, the first investigative judge in Beirut, who is overseeing a local case against the Governor of the Banque du Liban, Riad Salameh, has rejected the defenses presented by defense lawyers, according to “Reuters”.
Salameh’s lawyers had objected to the presence of another Lebanese judge suing the governor of the Banque du Liban on behalf of the state at a hearing of European investigators in Beirut in March.
Two days ago, the French judge, Aude Borosi, issued an international arrest warrant against the Governor of the Central Bank of Lebanon, Riad Salameh, according to what a source familiar with the file confirmed, after he refused to appear before the French judiciary in an interrogation session, on charges of money laundering and embezzlement of public money.
Last Tuesday, Salameh, his brother Raja, and his assistant, Marianne Howayek, refused to appear, claiming that he had not received any notification from the Lebanese judiciary.
Salama described the French judge’s decision as illegal, saying in his response to the arrest decision that it was “a violation of the most basic laws, and he will appeal against it.”
He also claimed that “the judge ignored the legal deadlines stipulated in French law, despite her knowledge and certainty of that, and therefore her decision constitutes a clear violation of the laws.”
Salameh’s legal team had anticipated this French interrogation session by presenting formal defenses last Monday before the Cassation Public Prosecution in Lebanon, calling for the suspension of cooperation with European investigations, and to suffice with the local investigation, which is taking place mainly against the backdrop of European investigations in money laundering and embezzlement cases.
While an informed judicial source confirmed to Al-Arabiya.net earlier that the Lebanese judiciary “failed” four times to inform him of the date of the French interrogation session, according to the rules.