The Munich public prosecutor's office said it was investigating Riad Salameh, Lebanon's central bank chief from 1993 to 2023, together with his brother Raja and other suspects on charges including forgery, money laundering and embezzlement.

The Salameh brothers deny all the charges.

A source told Reuters last year that Germany had issued an arrest warrant for Salameh on corruption charges.

Salameh, 72, is being investigated in Lebanon and at least five European countries for allegedly taking hundreds of millions of dollars from Lebanon's central bank, to the detriment of the Lebanese state, and laundering the funds abroad.

German and other European prosecutors have visited Lebanon several times to question the Salameh brothers. However, Lebanon does not extradite its own nationals.

The Munich public prosecutor's office said part of the allegedly defrauded sum, which investigators put at 150 million euros, was routed to Europe via a letterbox company in the British Virgin Islands and invested in real estate, including in Germany.

In an operation with partner authorities in France and Luxembourg, the prosecutor's office said three commercial properties in Munich and Hamburg with a total value of around 28 million euros had been confiscated.

Authorities also seized shares worth around seven million euros in a Duesseldorf-based property company.

Germany is considered to be one of the main countries worldwide in which illegally earned funds are fed into the economy through money laundering.

(Reporting by Joern Poltz; writing by Bartosz Dabrowski; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Gareth Jones)