Head of Money Changers in Lebanon Just Got Arrested

Reuters

On Thursday, May 7th, 2020, the head of the Union of Money Changers Mahmoud Mrad was taken into custody in an attempt to halt the manipulation of the dollar exchange rate.

Mrad was charged by financial prosecutor Judge Ali Ibrahim for actively tampering with the value of the Lebanese pound.

Along with Mrad, Lebanese authorities arrested a handful of money changers for failing to comply with the Central Bank exchange rate of 3,200 LBP for $1.

The money changers told authorities that they were told by Mrad to buy dollars off the market to later sell them for even higher rates.

According to local news channel MTV, a voice note from Mrad was found encouraging illicit money exchangers to wipe the dollars off the market and hold them since the rate was soon to reach 5,000 LBP.

While some money exchangers take advantage of the situation, the rest of Lebanon suffers from the abrupt devaluation of their currency.

For the first time in 30 years, the dollar officially exceeded 3,000 LBP. The dollar is valued over 4,000 LBP on the black market and is believed to reach 5,000 LBP in the coming weeks.

The arrest does not mean the value of the dollar will decrease, however. In fact, the black market exchange rate of the dollar rose to 4,350 on Friday morning following Mrad’s arrest.