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Economy3 hours ago (Aug 14, 2021 06:05AM ET)

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Lebanon’s Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh speaks during a news conference at Central Bank in Beirut, Lebanon, November 11, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir/File Photo

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanese central bank governor Riad Salameh maintained his innocence amid allegations of corruption, saying in a radio interview on Saturday that his conscience was clear.

Salameh is under investigation in Switzerland on charges related to embezzlement, and probes are under way or being planned in several other European countries.

Last week, a Lebanese prosecutor asked Salameh for documents relating to suspicions of embezzlement, money laundering and tax evasion over an allegation that more than $300 million had been taken from the bank through a company owned by his brother.

“I have not benefitted one penny from the central bank,” Salameh told Radio Free Lebanon.

Salameh continued to dismiss the allegations as a smear campaign on Saturday, saying “there are those who want my head”.

Lebanon’s crippled banking system is at the heart of a financial crisis that erupted in late 2019. Banks have since blocked transfers abroad and cut access to deposits due to a scarcity of dollars.

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