01/08/2023

Lebanon’s Central Bank Chief Riad Salameh resigns amidst crisis and international accusations

BEIRUT — After three decades as the Chief of the Central Bank of Lebanon, Riad Salameh stepped down on Monday, facing two international arrest warrants and a deepening financial crisis. He leaves his position with no immediate successor due to political divisions.

Salameh is among those being held responsible for Lebanon’s severe financial and economic collapse, characterized by a sharp devaluation of the national currency, soaring inflation, and increasing poverty.

He faces accusations of money laundering and embezzlement of Lebanese public funds, not only from Lebanon but also from at least five European countries.

Salameh’s resignation comes as Lebanon’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) plummeted to just $16 billion this year to, down from $55 billion in 2018.

In the interim, Wassim Mansouri, the First Deputy of the Lebanon Bank Chief, has assumed the role of acting Chief. He addressed the media at a press conference, expressing his commitment to initiate discussions with the government to stabilize the exchange rate and vowing not to sign any currency exchange orders outside the legal framework.

Mansouri emphasized that government financing would be provided for a specific and limited period, contingent on the ability to repay the funds.