Report: U.S. Scolded Salameh Over Alleged Transfer of Billions from Syria to Lebanon


U.S. officials have reportedly chided Central Bank governor Riyad Salameh for helping Syria escape U.S. sanctions five years ago by transferring billions of dollars to Lebanon.

Al-Akhbar daily said Thursday that the officials told Salameh during his visit to Washington last week that the Central Bank’s move led to a cover up to illegitimate operations carried out by several Lebanese banks, including alleged money laundering.

They said “terrorist organizations in Lebanon and the region, particularly Hizbullah, benefited” from the move.

Last month, the U.S. Treasury Department accused the Lebanese Canadian Bank of laundering hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of a drug lord with alleged links to Hizbullah.

The bank had denied the charges and Salameh had said the institution complied with anti-laundering laws.

Last week, the bank was acquired by Societe Generale.

Al-Akhbar said that Salameh had promised the U.S. officials to find a solution to the LCB crisis. “And that’s what happened.”