| 23 June 2024, Sunday |

How can Lebanon avoid linkage between Salameh and Central Bank?


The argument of the governor of the Central Bank of Lebanon, Riad Salameh, in his refusal to resign and leave his position lies in his desire to send a message that he has not committed any wrongdoing, according to well-informed diplomatic sources.

However, it is suggested that in certain circumstances, those in positions of responsibility should sacrifice their positions after serious accusations are leveled against them, particularly from external and international sources, regardless of their accuracy. Meanwhile, Salameh wants to establish a connection between his innocence and his continuation in office, based on the equation that his tenure serves as proof of his innocence.

Within this context, there is a genuine concern, according to the sources, that an international link could be established between the accused governor and the institution he manages, potentially branding the Central Bank of Lebanon as “tainted” due to the governor’s refusal to step down, regardless of his innocence. This could lead countries to cease their dealings with the central bank, paving the way for a severe financial crisis with international ramifications for Lebanon, potentially leading the country into further devastation, isolation, and collapse.

However, any notable intervention by Salameh’s lawyer to devise a solution to remove him from the Central Bank under the pretext of protecting the bank’s reputation would be a good idea, according to the sources.
The sources state that in several countries with sound economic conditions, officials who may be somewhat implicated are often removed to avoid any overlap between the name of the official and the institution they manage or represent. This has occurred specifically in the United Kingdom, aiming to create a distinction between the name of the official and the name of the institution to guide local and international entities in their dealings.

The sources further affirm that if the governor insists on clinging to his position, it would imply that international institutions will later adopt a reserved stance towards the Central Bank, especially since influential figures also stand behind Salameh’s name. There will be no silence regarding the “politicians,” as the governor suggested.
A few weeks ago, there was a proposal within the government to appoint a judicial guardian for the Central Bank as a replacement for the governor, to ensure the bank’s continued management. This idea stemmed from the difficulties faced by the caretaker government in appointing a new governor. It also aimed to take a legal step and send a message to other countries that Lebanon is not neglecting its responsibilities or evading accountability. It should be noted that Interpol’s involvement cannot be enforced on any Lebanese individual inside Lebanon, but rather outside of it. Lebanon can at least activate the judiciary, especially considering the international divergence in positions regarding the governor’s status, as it is no longer deemed suitable for Lebanon’s upcoming phase and a change is necessary.

  • Sawt Beirut International