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As local currency dips, Lebanon’s central bank vows to cooperate with audit

Lebanon's central bank has announced that it will comply with all demands concerning data from the Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) consulting company for a forensic audit of its finances.

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Despite allegations that the business was about to withdraw owing to a lack of cooperation, Lebanon’s central bank has announced that it will comply with all data demands from the consulting company Alvarez & Marsal (A&M) for a forensic audit of its finances.

For an International Monetary Fund support program and other foreign assistance to Lebanon to alleviate the country’s worst economic crisis since the country’s civil war, the audit is seen as a necessary condition that needs to be fulfilled.

Little progress has been made in resolving the depreciation of the local currency, as the pound started decoupling from its 23-year-old peg to the US dollar in 2019. On Thursday, the Lebanese pound traded at well over 24,200, while it had fallen to 24,000 to the dollar in July.

The central bank and finance ministry met virtually with A&M on Thursday and reaffirmed their “complete cooperation” in completing the audit, according to a statement by the Banque du Liban.

Riad Salameh, the governor of the Lebanese central bank, said that the Banque du Liban would honor any requests for information received prior to December 29, when the banking secrecy legislation suspended by lawmakers last year will revert to its original form.

He also told that the central bank “recommends that the forensic examination begin immediately.”

“It is up to the finance ministry and the consultation company to determine if more information is required for the audit… The central bank will abide by the law,” he added.

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