Lebanon Receives Interpol Notice for Central Bank Governor

Image copyright: Al Arabiya English

The Facts

  • Interpol issued a "Red Notice" for Lebanon’s central bank governor Riad Salameh on Wednesday, which the country’s interior ministry received the following day and forwarded to the judiciary. Salameh is accused of embezzling hundreds of millions of public funds, which he denies.

  • Lebanese Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi said he will abide by whatever the judiciary recommends while calling for Salameh to resign. Lebanon’s deputy Prime Minister echoed the same sentiment, and the country’s senior leaders will discuss the issue at a consultative cabinet meeting Monday.

The Spin

Narrative A

Riad Salame is one of Lebanon’s most sinister actors and holds a massive amount of responsibility for Lebanon’s financial crisis. Touted as a “financial wizard” and steward of Lebanon’s economy, Salameh betrayed his duty by orchestrating a Ponzi scheme to enrich himself and his inner circle. The evidence against Salameh is overwhelming — there are too many shady deals and too much money missing for it to be a coincidence. Salameh is a corrupt criminal, and he must be held accountable.

Narrative B

Political adversaries in Lebanon and Europe are targeting Riad Salameh, trying to sow discord in Lebanon’s financial markets and create rampant speculation that will yield easy profits. Salameh has complied with judiciaries in Lebanon and abroad and continues to maintain his innocence, and the French warrant against him violates the provisions of a previous Lebanese-French agreement. He has provided extensive documentation and will appeal the illegitimate French warrant.

Sign up to our daily newsletter