The President of the Republic, General Michel Aoun, warned the Ministry of Finance and officials of the Banque du Liban in the event of failure of the forensic audit of the accounts of the Banque du Liban, on the eve of a crucial meeting with the Alvarez & Marsal law firm in charge of leading the procedure.
احذّر الجانب اللبناني ، وتحديدًا وزارة المال والمصرف المركزي ، المجتمعين غداً مع شركة التدقيق الجنائي الفاريز– General Michel Aoun (@General_Aoun) April 5, 2021
ومرسال من اي محاولة لتعطيل التدقيق الجنائي ، واحمّلهما المسؤولية
باسم الشعب اللبناني.
According to the information currently available, the Banque du Liban would have answered only 49% of the questions asked by the firm Alvarez & Marsal.
As a reminder, negotiations with the IMF quickly stumbled over the capacity of the Lebanese authorities to carry out the reforms necessary for the release of international aid as well as on the issue of quantifying losses in the financial sector. The Lebanese authorities estimate that its losses would reach 241 trillion Lebanese pounds on the basis of an exchange rate of 3600 LL / USD. , that is to say approximately 80 billion dollars, which the local banks refuse via the association of the banks of Lebanon or the Bank of Lebanon itself.
The association of banks in Lebanon has thus activated its relays present in parliament. via the parliamentary finance and budget committee. The latter, where some shareholders and representatives of local banks are present, only quantified the financial losses at 81 trillion Lebanese pounds on the basis of an exchange rate of 1507 LL / USD. .
Henceforth, this encryption of the accounts of the Banque du Liban should be carried out by the firms Alvarez & Marsal for the forensic audit and by KPMG and Oliver Wyman for the normal audit . First approached to conduct the forensic audit, the Kroll cabinet, specializing in the matter was dismissed following pressure from the president of the chamber Nabih Berri, considering the company linked to the Hebrew state .
In parallel, the association of banks in Lebanon presented a rescue plan rejected by the IMF and the Lebanese authorities, providing for the sale of part of Lebanon’s gold and the fixed-term session of public goods. This plan is also rejected by specialists who believe that the sale of public goods could only be done by selling them off because of the current circumstances.
Some sources are now citing losses for the financial sector exceeding $ 100 billion, estimating that Lebanon would now require a stimulus package of 63 billion dollars but only 26 billion at most are available . According to these same sources, all Lebanese banks are now insolvent.
Thunderclap, the firm of Alvarez & Marsal announces its withdrawal from the forensic audit procedure , November 20, 2020 after the Banque du Liban refused to answer 57% of the questions asked , under the pretext of the credit and currency code or even legislation related to banking secrecy, plunging Lebanon into uncertainty. Indeed, this audit is now considered essential for obtaining assistance from the international community. The Ministry of Finance or that of justice considered that the contract did not violate the texts in force.
The cabinet will announce its return to the procedure at the end of December, following the adoption and adoption of a law suspending banking secrecy regulations for a period of one year after the Governor of the Banque du Liban Riad Salamé refused to transfer the documents deemed necessary by Alvarez & Marsal for such a procedure.
An audit where the role of the governor of the Banque du Liban could be called into question
a more usual 2018 audit report which had been revealed despite its confidential nature had revealed that the governor of the Banque du Liban, Riad Salamé, had abused unilateral declarations of fiduciary profits, 6 billion in 2018 alone , Maybe $ 30 billion.
Some sources even believe that gross currency reserves are already negative due to losses accumulated over the years, which also means that people’s deposits with the Bank of Lebanon simply no longer exist.
These hypotheses are all present because despite the official character of the Banque du Liban, this institution does not respect the regulations on the right of access to information yet adopted by the Lebanese parliament. The forensic audit was aimed precisely at removing these suspicions.
The Banque du Liban is in fact at the heart of a state scandal. This is the very tool that made it happen. The establishment did not play its role of regulator of private banks on the one hand and even encouraged them to mismanage or invest in defective financial products such as public debt or even its own CDs with the prospect of winning. simply as much time as possible.
A “highly political” audit
Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri had never made a secret of his opposition to the forensic audit even if today, following his appointment, he would accept it in principle.
However, he has, on several occasions, recalled his support for the governor of the Banque du Liban, one of his relatives, who thus enjoys, according to him, total immunity.
Thus, some observers fear that the latter will choose to bury the procedure in order to protect certain interests including his own, the Hariri family owning 10% of the shares of all Lebanese banks and having therefore benefited from the various measures of the Banque du Liban in their favor.
They note that this audit could constitute further proof of the involvement of senior Lebanese leaders in various financial transfer operations from which they have benefited to the detriment of the state with the complicity of certain local banks.
This audit therefore complicates the relationship between the Presidency of the Republic, General Michel Aoun and the Prime Minister designate Saad Hariri who are currently negotiating the distribution of the various ministerial portfolios within a cabinet which is nevertheless necessary in order to unblock aid from the community. international.