UK sanctions Lebanon’s former central bank governor

Britain, the US and Canada have announced coordinated designations against Riad Salameh and three associates.

The UK has sanctioned Lebanon’s former central bank governor, according to a statement.

Britain, the US and Canada have announced coordinated designations against Riad Salameh and his three associates for allegedly diverting 300 million dollars (£235 million) for personal gain, the Foreign Office said.

Mr Salameh, who has repeatedly denied charges of corruption, is facing a criminal investigation for alleged financial crimes including illicit enrichment and embezzlement.

First appointed as governor of Lebanon’s central bank in 1993, Mr Salameh was initially credited with bringing stability to the country’s economy.

But he has since been blamed for a financial crisis which has seen soaring inflation and millions plunged into poverty.

He stepped down from the role in July amid a large-scale criminal probe.

Mr Salameh, his brother Raja Salameh, former assistant Marianne Hoayek and former partner Anna Kosakova have all been subject to travel bans and asset freezes, the Foreign Office said on Thursday.

Minister of State for the Middle East Lord Ahmad said: “Riad Salameh and his close associates have stolen from the people of Lebanon and deprived them of resources crucial to its economic and social stability.

“The UK is dedicated to fighting for justice and accountability for Lebanon and the Lebanese people. The only way to put Lebanon on the path to much-needed economic recovery is for its leaders to stamp out corruption and implement real reforms.”

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