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Lebanon: cabinet waives central bank capital audit, economy worries

Alvarez & Marsal throws in the towel, in Lebanon. Due to lack of access to all the required information, the international audit firm ended the contract signed with the country in crisis for a crucial legal audit of the central bank, announces Beirut. During a visit to the presidential palace, the resigning Minister of Finance, Ghazi Wazni, “informed the President of the Republic to have received a letter from the company + Alvarez and Marsal + to end the agreement signed with the Ministry of Finance for the forensic audit “of the Bank of Lebanon (BDL), said the Lebanese presidency on its Twitter account.

“The company has not obtained the information and documents necessary to start implementing its mission,” added the presidency, citing the Minister of Finance. This audit is one of the main points of the economic rescue plan approved at the end of April by the Lebanese government and a flagship measure insisted on by France and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to release crucial financial assistance to the country. in crisis.

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In early September, the Lebanese Ministry of Finance signed agreements with three international firms – Alvarez & Marsal KPMG and Oliver Wyman – to conduct an audit of the BDL. On September 9, Alvarez & Marsal had started “the first phase” of its legal audit, but the BDL only provided 42% of the information and documents due to the non-compliance of certain data required with the French Currency Code. and credit and the Bank Secrecy Act, according to the Central Bank.

Lebanon has been stuck for over a year in a deep economic, social and political crisis. In addition to a historic depreciation of its national currency and hyperinflation, the country has still been without a government for more than three months.

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In May, the Lebanese authorities entered into negotiations with the IMF to obtain financial assistance, but the process has stalled since July, while the international community, France in the lead, demand urgent reforms in return for aid that has yet to be implemented.