On August 10, 2023, Riad Salameh, a former Governor of the Banque du Liban (Central Bank), and his close associates were sanctioned by the United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), HM Treasury’s Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI), and the Canadian government due to their involvement in corruption. Consequently, they are now subject to travel bans and asset freezes.

In recent years, global initiatives for corporate transparency have uncovered Salameh’s connections to various shell companies and bank accounts across Europe and the Caribbean. Taking advantage of his position as a governor, Salameh orchestrated illicit self-enrichment schemes with the support of his family and associates.

One scheme involved Salameh, assisted by his brother Raja Salameh, primary assistant Marianne Hoayek, son Nady Salameh, and former partner Anna Kosakova. They utilized a British Virgin Islands shell firm named Forry Associates to divert approximately $330 million from Central Bank transactions. Through these diversions, funds were frequently channeled to property management companies in France, Germany, Luxembourg, and Belgium. Salameh also employed shell companies in Panama and a trust in Luxembourg to conceal his identity.

In February 2023, Salameh faced charges of money laundering, embezzlement, and illicit enrichment. These charges stemmed from an 18-month investigation into his alleged embezzlement of $300 million from the Central Bank of Lebanon. In May 2023, Interpol issued a red notice against Salameh following a French judge’s warrant for “money laundering, fraud, and participation in a criminal association.” Germany also subsequently issued a red notice on corruption charges, encompassing forgery, money laundering, and embezzlement. Additionally, Salameh is the subject of numerous criminal investigations across Lebanon and Europe.