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Aoun: Forensic Audit of Lebanon Central Bank Has Begun

Aoun: Forensic Audit of Lebanon Central Bank Has Begun

Thursday, 21 October, 2021 - 16:15
Lebanon's President Michel Aoun and Lebanon's Finance Minister Youssef Khalil meet with a delegation from Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) consulting firm at the presidential palace in Baabda, Lebanon October 20, 2021. Dalati and Nohra photo

A forensic audit of the Lebanese central bank by Alvarez & Marsal began on Thursday, Lebanese President Michel Aoun said on Twitter, indicating fresh momentum on a condition for Lebanon to secure foreign aid amid a financial meltdown.

The plan for an audit had hit a roadblock about a year ago when restructuring consultancy A&M withdrew, saying it had not received the information it needed from the central bank.

Parliament agreed in December 2020 to lift banking secrecy for one year.

Aoun also said work was under way to start negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a program to rescue Lebanon from its economic meltdown.

An IMF official had said he hoped negotiations for a program would start before the new year.

"We hope the effort being made today will lead to access to all the data and to sufficient information ... all required data must be available first," the IMF's Mahmoud Mohieldin said in a statement.

He added that any conditions the IMF would require "will not be harsher than what we see in Lebanon today."

"I imagine that after the success of this program... the required confidence can be restored to the economy and we positively bet on the ability of the economy and Lebanese people to respond to positive signals," Mohieldin said.

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