Lebanese Central Bank Says It Delivered Audit Accounts, Finance Ministry Denies It

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Hasan Shaaban/Bloomberg

Lebanon’s central bank and finance ministry disagreed on the state of the documents required to carry out the forensic auditing of the central bank’s accounts.

In a statement released on Thursday, the Banque du Liban’s (BDL) media and public relations unit said that the BDL had “all its accounts handed over to the Finance Minister on October 13th, 2020, by the Government Commissioner at the Banque du Liban.”

The statement announced that a virtual meeting will take place on April 6th between Alvarez & Marsal, the firm hired to conduct the audit, the BDL, and the Finance Ministry to follow up on this matter.

In response, the Finance Ministry issued a statement denying that it had received all of the BDL’s accounts.

The statement stressed that what the Ministry had received on October 13, 2020 “constitutes only 42% of the documents and information required by Alvarez & Marsal.”

“This is evidenced by all the correspondence between the Finance Ministry and the Banque du Liban, especially Letter No. 868/1 dated October 14, 2020,” it said, adding that the BDL’s claim “contradicts reality.”

The BDL’s refusal to hand over certain documents and answer some questions required by Alvarez & Marsal (citing banking secrecy laws) had prompted the firm to withdraw from the audit back in November 2020.

Talks ensued to renew the firm’s contract with the Lebanese government in January after the BDL agreed to lift banking secrecy.

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Lebanese Central Bank Says It Delivered Audit Accounts, Finance Ministry Denies It

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