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Lebanon's scorned central bank chief Riad Salameh steps down

Salameh is under investigation in both Lebanon and Europe for financial crimes as Lebanon’s economic crisis continues.
Lebanese anti-government protesters hold a mask of Lebanon's Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh during a protest in front of the central bank headquarters in Beirut to protest against the economic policies of the bank on November 27, 2019. - Since September, debt-saddled Lebanon has had a liquidity crisis, with banks rationing the supply of dollars. As a result, the dollar exchange rate on the parallel market has topped 2,000 Lebanese pounds -- a spike from the pegged rate of 1,507. (Photo by JOSEPH EID / A

Lebanon’s embattled head of the central bank Riad Salameh left his position on Monday, ending his decades-long tenure amid the ongoing economic crisis and widespread corruption allegations, as acting governor Wassim Mansouri is calling for reforms. 

Salameh, who is under investigation in Lebanon, France and Switzerland for embezzlement, lashed out at his critics as he left the Banque du Liban (the Lebanese central bank) headquarters.

“Everything I did for the past 30 years was to try to serve Lebanon and the Lebanese,” he said, as reported by The Associated Press. “Some — the majority — were grateful, even if they don’t want to say so. And there are other people, well, may God forgive them.”

Salameh, 73, became governor in 1993 and his term had been renewed ever since until Monday. He was celebrated with ululations and music by few who gathered outside the bank’s offices in Beirut. The festive display was met by a wave of criticism on social media over Salameh's role in leading up to the economic crisis. 

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