Lebanon Central Bank Refuses To Hand Over Documents To Forensic Auditing Firm

Mohamad Azakir/Reuters

After promising to cooperate with the forensic auditor Alvarez & Marsal hired by the state, Banque Du Liban (BDL) is now refusing to submit certain required documents, citing banking secrecy and money and credit laws. 

Just two weeks ago, BDL issued a statement that it handed over all the requested documents and information allowed by Lebanese laws to the state commissioner of the central bank.

However, as it has materialized, not all the documents needed by the firm to conduct the forensic audit were submitted. The firm now finds itself unable to proceed with its task that is crucial for Lebanon to meet the requirements for the support of the IMF.

Naturally, the firm is not happy at all, to say the least.

An official quoted by The Daily Star said the auditing firm “seemed very upset about BDL’s reaction” and is looking into terminating its contract with the government and getting paid around $200,000 for the work it has done so far.

This news comes as no surprise to many, as the forensic audit will expose truths about where Lebanon’s money has gone and will determine who is responsible.

The forensic audit into BDL’s accounts was seen as one of the main factors to attaining economic support from the international community, including France.

But with Saad Hariri back as PM-designate claiming to adhere to the French initiative, some stipulate that there will be no further push for a forensic audit.

“What do you expect? When the mafia comes back to power, they call up their friends and ensure no transparency takes place,” wrote Henri Chaoul, who resigned as Lebanon’s IMF advisor after losing hope in the government.

How will that play out in Lebanon’s efforts to get international support? Is Hariri’s government only going to be a reflection of Diab’s government, which only pushed Lebanon into a deeper crisis?

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