Lebanon’s Central Bank Finally Agrees To Lift Banking Secrecy

Financial Times_ Riad Salameh Boosted Central Bank Assets By $6 Billion
Bloomberg

Lebanon’s central bank (BDL) has announced on Friday that it has informed the Finance Ministry of its compliance in lifting the banking secrecy for one year in order to enable a forensic audit of the central bank.

BDL also agreed to fully cooperate with Alvarez & Marsal, which contract Lebanon has recently renewed after the firm quit in face of the BDL’s stout resistance to provide the required documents.

The BDL had raised, back then, the flag of bank secrecy to obstruct the probe of the forensic auditing into the central bank operations.

In a turn of events, and as the governor of the central bank Riad Salameh is under the judicial scrutiny of Lebanon as well as Switzerland, which recently froze his assets, BDL finally agreed to cooperate with the forensic audit and lift the bank secrecy.

It did, nonetheless, emphasize the need for Alvarez & Marsal to follow all the obligations according to the laws and the General Data Protection Regulation on the data and information, to prevent any leakage of the BDL’s list of information.

BDL also urged the Finance Ministry to map out an immediate plan for the subsidy program, including priorities and funding sources.

Alvarez & Marsal, the well-renowned firm known for its work in turnaround management and performance improvement, is the missing puzzle piece that has the power to uncover any suspicious accounts and operations at BDL, including the billions of dollars reported to have disappeared from Lebanon.

International donors have previously stressed that there will be no financial assistance without a forensic audit. a critical matter that Lebanon has been delaying since last year.

BDL’s compliance comes at a critical time in Lebanon’s economy, as unprofessional management, corruption, political deadlock, and a nation-wide pandemic have caused the Lebanese currency to become almost worthless, as well as inflating prices tremendously.