Today, the United States, in coordination with the U.K. and Canada, is designating the former governor of Lebanon’s central bank, Riad Salameh, and four of his close associates who enriched themselves at the expense of the Lebanese people.
As governor of the Banque du Liban (BdL), Riad Salameh used his office to engage in a variety of unlawful self-enrichment schemes with the help of close family members and associates, ignoring Lebanese law and taking privileges not afforded to average citizens, even as the country sank deeper into financial chaos. In doing so, Salameh and his co-conspirators placed their personal financial interests and ambitions above those of the Lebanese people.
Today’s action occurs in coordination with similar actions by the United Kingdom and Canada, close partners who share our vision of a Lebanon governed in the interest of its people and free from the corruption and unethical practices perpetuated by elites who abuse positions of privilege.
The Central Bank of Lebanon, the Banque du Liban, is not designated or blocked as a result of today’s actions. This action only targets Salameh and the other named individuals. We are clear-eyed about the endemic corruption that plagues Lebanon. We remain committed to the Lebanese people, and we welcome the opportunity to work with partners, allies, civil society, and those members of the Lebanese political elite who are willing to place their country over their self-interest.
The Department of the Treasury is taking this action pursuant to Executive Order 13441, which authorizes sanctions on certain persons who have taken actions that have the purpose or effect of contributing to the breakdown of the rule of law in Lebanon, as well as those who materially assist, sponsor, or provide financial, material, or technological support for, or goods and services in support of, such persons. For more information about these designations, see the Department of the Treasury’s press release.