Lebanon’s economic crisis

Lebanon's going through a crisis of mammoth proportions, an economic crisis that could rank among one of the world’s worst since the mid-1800s.

Why have officials there let the country get to this point? Are there hidden hands at play, especially when it comes to the US? The worst economic indicators for Lebanon are at play: Its banks are largely insolvent, unemployment is soaring, and its currency has crashed. The EU and US factor: using sanctions against Lebanon, especially the US, preventing investment: is this all about trying to corner Hezbollah, with an eye on Iran?

Russia’s interests in Lebanon: trying to get a foot hold in the country through Lebanon’s gas resources in the eastern Mediterranean The country of Lebanon is unraveling in the worst possible way. It has not had a government for almost a year now, its economy is collapsing, the Prime Minster designate Saad Al Harriri just resigned, with all hopes now pinned on the new PM Designate Najob Miqati.

And there has been widespread mismanagement and corruption. Let’s zoom in on the corruption factor, and in particular this man. Riad Salameh, Lebanon’s central bank chief. It is widely assumed that he has abused his power, facing allegations of fraud, suspected embezzlement and money laundering .

This is a snap shot of his rap sheet: Mr Salameh, his brother Raja Salameh, other relatives and Marianne Hoayek, who heads the central bank's executive office, are under investigation of illegally wiping funds from Lebanon into Swiss banks and then laundering millions in France through high-end real estate purchases. In one case, from 2002 to 2015, the bank transferred at least $ 330 million in commissions to the company's Swiss account. In another case, Raja Salameh transferred more than $ 200 million from Forry's Swiss account to his accounts in Lebanese banks with strong political ties. That’s over $550 million dollars.


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