Lebanon President Slams Officials Over Central Bank Audit Delay

Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun said the unwillingness of officials to assist with a detailed audit of the central bank risked depriving the country of critical financial support from abroad.

In a televised speech, Aoun vowed to reveal what he called the “biggest heist in Lebanon’s history,” and accused the central bank, local lenders and others of responsibility for the nation’s financial crisis.

“The collapse of the forensic audit means a hit to the French initiative because without it, there is no international support, no CEDRE money, no Arab or Gulf support, and no International Monetary Fund” assistance, the president said, referring to various pledges of aid conditioned on Lebanon addressing concerns over corruption and financial mismanagement.

Officials from the Finance Ministry, the central bank and auditors Alvarez & Marsal held a virtual meeting on Monday. The bank said it would submit a list of updated documents after the company in March agreed to reengage with Lebanon if paperwork it had requested was delivered in full.

“It’s now clear that the goal of stalling the audit is to push the company to despair to leave Lebanon and stop the forensic audit, and for criminals to get away from punishment,” Aoun said.

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