France opened an investigation into the personal wealth of Riad Salameh, Banque du Liban Chief, Sources told AFP on Sunday.
A source close to the investigation said that financial prosecutors in Paris have opened a preliminary investigation into a criminal link and money laundering by Salama, following a similar move by Switzerland.
Salameh has been repeatedly accused by the government of interim Prime Minister Hassan Diab of being responsible for the collapse of the Lebanese pound. Several reports suspect Salama and other officials of transferring money abroad during a 2019 uprising.
Lebanon has since suffered an economic crisis that the World Bank says is one of the worst.
Salameh has been under investigation for months in Switzerland on suspicion of money laundering and embezzlement of serious funds from the Banque du Liban.
He owns several properties in France and may have transferred money across the country. The complaint, seen by AFP, accuses Salama and people close to him of fraudulently creating a fortune in Europe.
Groups urge the judiciary to investigate massive capital flight from Lebanon since the crisis began, as well as property purchases out of all proportion to the buyers’ income and the roles played by financial intermediaries, tax havens, and mediators as well as real estate purchases that do not match buyers’ income.
Salameh’s total global fortune is more than $2 billion, according to the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.