Marianne Hoayek charged with money laundering in France

France has indicted Marianne Hoayek, a former assistant to Riad Salameh, the embattled governor of Lebanon’s central bank, on charges of money laundering. Hoayek, 43, refutes these charges, asserting that her funds primarily originated from her late father, a wealthy businessman. Her lawyer, Mario Stasi, relayed this stance to AFP.

Riad Salameh, in office for nearly three decades, is under investigation both domestically and internationally, accused of amassing a substantial fortune during his tenure. Salameh, whose term concludes this July, was once lauded as the protector of Lebanon’s financial stability. However, in the aftermath of the country’s fiscal collapse, he’s facing increasing blame, with many critics suggesting he played a significant role in precipitating the crisis.

French, German, and Luxembourg authorities seized assets worth 120 million euros ($130 million) tied to Salameh in March 2022. The 72-year-old governor rejects all accusations of misconduct and maintains that he accumulated his wealth during his tenure at the U.S. investment bank Merrill Lynch before assuming his position at Lebanon’s central bank in 1993.

Salameh has become a person of interest in the French and German judicial systems, leading to the issuance of international arrest warrants for accusations including money laundering and fraud. As a result, Interpol followed suit by issuing Red Notices, although these do not equate to international arrest warrants. Rather, they request global authorities to provisionally detain individuals, potentially leading to extradition or other legal actions.

Post the Red Notices, a local judge in Lebanon interrogated Salameh, confiscated his French and Lebanese passports, and implemented a travel ban while leaving him free pending further investigation. As Lebanon does not extradite its nationals, it’s feasible that Salameh could face trial domestically, depending on the local judicial authorities’ verdict on the accusations levelled against him.

Other than Marianne Hoayek who else has been interrogated?

Authorities have also interrogated other figures, including Marianne Hoayek, Salameh’s brother Raja, and central bank audit firms, in Beirut as part of the European investigations.

This ongoing investigation highlights the serious allegations surrounding Salameh and his former assistant, Marianne Hoayek, painting a distressing picture of Lebanon’s financial instability. The implications of this investigation may have far-reaching effects on Lebanon’s future economic stability, putting Marianne Hoayek in the spotlight.

Image Credit: Naharnet