Thursday, February 25, 2021

Banque du Liban agrees to “cooperate” with the audit of the international community


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The Banque du Liban said on Friday February 12 that it wanted to “cooperate positively” with the consulting firm Alvarez & Marsal, which should carry out the forensic audit of the central bank, after a first unsuccessful attempt. This expertise is required by the international community to unlock aid and try to save the country from the worst economic crisis in its history.

With our correspondent in Beirut, Paul Khalifeh

It was more than a month late that the Banque du Liban finally responded positively to the cooperation request presented by Alvarez & Marsal on Friday 12 February.

The international cabinet, commissioned by the Lebanese government to carry out a forensic audit of the central bank, threw in the towel in November. The cause: the lack of transparency of the Banque du Liban, which had only provided 40% of the documents requested, barricading itself behind the law on banking secrecy in force since the 1950s.

The forensic audit of the central bank and public institutions is yet demanded by the international community to unblock aid to Lebanon, hit by the worst economic and financial crisis in its history: the pound has lost 80 % of its value, banks lack liquidity, state coffers are empty, the prices have soared and unemployment has exploded.

Faced with internal and international pressures, Parliament adopted a law lifting banking secrecy at the end of December on the accounts of the Banque du Liban and public institutions, allowing the government to resume contact with Alvarez and Marsal.

Part of the political class is opposed to the forensic audit. This is for fear that he will expose the mechanisms of corruption and squandering over the years of tens of billions of dollars.

Read also: The Nigerian subsidiary of the oil company Shell condemned for environmental pollution



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