BDL Did Not Officially Commit To Lift Bank Secrecy As It Claimed

BDL | Middle East Online

After Lebanon’s central bank (BDL) clearly stated that it has sent an official letter to the Finance Minister confirming its commitment and cooperation with Alvarez & Marsal, namely the lifting of Bank Secrecy for a year, the press office of the caretaker finance minister rushed to deny it.

In a statement, the Finance Ministry said on Saturday: “According to legal formalities, Minister Wazni did not receive any letter from the Central Bank Governor on the forensic financial audit at the end of his official working hours on Friday 12/2/2020.”

Considering that all media outlets were informed of that letter, except apparently the required official recipient, the Ministry’s statement issued in what seems a clear sarcasm, “unless there are new legal principles, namely correspondences through the media.”

Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni pictures with BDL Governor Riad Salaamed. Credits: NNA

In the alleged letter, which BDL claimed to have sent on Friday to the Finance Ministry, the central bank committed that it will lift the banking secrecy law for one year to comply with the forensic audit.

The news, which is now a subject of controversy, came on Friday as a positive development since BDL’s full compliance would have paved the way for a new contract with Alvarez & Marsal, and eventually the IMF’s financial support that Lebanon urgently needs.

The independent auditing firm was supposed to conduct a forensic audit months ago before backing out, citing a lack of trust.

It’s noteworthy to mention that an official source previously told local media reporters that the Finance Ministry had hoped that BDL will give its final approval for full forensic auditing of all the accounts.

However now, the Finance Minister is just as confused as the public, who have been waiting for information regarding suspicious accounts operating at BDL for months now.

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BDL Did Not Officially Commit To Lift Bank Secrecy As It Claimed

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