Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : UK, US and Canada sanction Lebanon’s former Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh and close associates [August 2023]

The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 10 August 2023.

The UK, US and Canada have sanctioned Lebanon’s former Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh and his close associates involved in corruption.

  • The UK sanctions the former Governor of the Central Bank of Lebanon, and three associates, for diverting over $300m of  the Bank’s funds for personal gain.
  • The sanctions against Riad Salameh and his close associates, including his brother, are coordinated with the US and Canada.
  • The UK’s Minister for the Middle East Lord Ahmad calls on Lebanon’s leaders to urgently bring about real reform and fight corruption at the top to set Lebanon on the path to economic recovery.

Today, the UK, US and Canada have announced coordinated sanctions against Riad Salameh, Lebanon’s former Central Bank governor, and three of his close associates, for their role in the diversion of over $300m from the Bank.

Riad Salameh’s actions benefited himself and his close associates at the expense of the Lebanese people. His brother Raja Salameh, former assistant Marianne Hoayek and former partner Anna Kosakova financially benefited from this corruption, lining their pockets with money belonging to the Lebanese people. All four individuals have been handed travel bans and asset freezes.

The UK has coordinated these sanctions with our key partners the US and Canada. This demonstrates the UK’s commitment to combat corruption in Lebanon.

Minister of State for the Middle East, Lord Ahmad said:

Riad Salameh and his close associates have stolen from people of Lebanon and deprived them of resources crucial to its economic and social stability.

The UK is dedicated to fighting for justice and accountability for Lebanon and the Lebanese people. The only way to put Lebanon on the path to much-needed economic recovery is for its leaders to stamp out corruption and implement real reforms.

Corruption and a lack of reform have led to a devastating economic crisis in Lebanon – cited by the World Bank as one of the worst in modern history. This has plunged over 80% of the population into poverty. Lebanon ranks 154 out of 180 on the Transparency International Global Corruption Perception Index.

This is the first time the UK government has used the Global Anti-Corruption Sanctions regime against individuals involved in corruption in Lebanon. Since its introduction in April 2021, the UK has introduced sanctions against 39 individuals and entities under this regime globally to combat corruption across the world.