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European investigators will visit Lebanon next month as part of a probe into the wealth of central bank governor Riad Salameh, a judicial official said on Tuesday. online news
The long-serving central bank chief, 72, is among top officials widely blamed for Lebanon’s unprecedented economic crisis, dubbed one of the worst in modern global history by the World Bank.
In March, France, Germany and Luxembourg seized properties and frozen assets worth 120 million euros ($130 million) in a major operation linked to a probe launched by French investigators into Salameh’s personal wealth.
“Delegations including general prosecutors and investigative judges and financial prosecutors from Germany, Luxembourg and France… will arrive in Beirut between January 9 and 20,” the Lebanese judicial official told AFP.
The visit aims to conduct investigations into financial affairs linked to Salameh, the official added, requesting anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the media.
Authorities in the three European countries notified Lebanon’s general prosecutor of their intention to question “Salameh, officials at Lebanon’s central bank and the heads of commercial banks”, the official said.
The delegations have not requested assistance from the Lebanese judiciary, according to the official.
Lebanon opened a probe into Salameh’s wealth last year, after the office of Switzerland’s top prosecutor requested assistance in an investigation into more than $300 million which he allegedly embezzled out of the central bank with the help of his brother.
In June, a Lebanese prosecutor probing Salameh on suspicion of financial misconduct requested charges be issued against him based on preliminary investigative findings, a court official said at the time.
Both Salameh brothers have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
The central bank chief has remained at the helm despite the probes and Lebanese courts imposing a travel ban on him.
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Notes from APS Radio News
One of the reasons shortages occurred in developing countries pertained to locdowns and restrictions imposed in developed countries during the past three years.
Restrictions and mandates were imposed over a virus that, in the US, for example, has had an average mortality rate of .07%, according to Statista, and, for most age groups, a recovery rate of 99%.
Dr. John Ioannidis, a research scientist and an evidence-based specialist at Stanford University, has outlined fatality risks of the virus as a function of age groups:
“The real-world risk of dying from COVID-19 based on published data from the Irish census bureau and the central statistics office for 2020 and 2021 is as follows: For people under 70, the death rate was 0.014%; under 50 years of age, it was 0.002%, which equates to a 1 in 50,000 risk, or about the same as dying from fire or smoke inhalation.
Under 25 years of age, the mortality rate was 0.00018%, or 1 in 500,000 risk of dying from COVID-19.”
Another factor that has affected the world’s economy includes policies that have been implemented by major central banks.
For example, between late February 2020 to the Spring of this year, the US Federal Reserve increased its holdings by about $4.8 trillion.
It did so each month by purchasing billions of dollars’ worth of Treasury bonds and corporation bonds.
The combination of shutdowns of businesses and massive infusions of money led to higher rates of inflation.