Alvarez & Marsal to resume forensic audit of Lebanese central bank on Thursday

Audit is a prerequisite for Lebanon to access billions from international lenders

Lebanon's President Michel Aoun, right, and Finance Minister Youssef El Khalil, centre, meet a delegation from Alvarez & Marsal. Photo: Reuters
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International consultants will resume a financial audit of Lebanon's central bank on Thursday, President Michel Aoun revealed on Twitter.

The president and Finance Minister Youssef El Khalil met James Daniel, general manager of Alvarez & Marsal, on Wednesday.

Mr Daniel confirmed the global consultants will resume the audit, Mr Aoun said.

Conducting a transparent audit of the central bank is a prerequisite for Lebanon to access billions of dollars in debt relief and loans from international lenders after two years of financial meltdown.

“The general manager of Alvarez & Marsal James Daniel briefed him [the president] on the company’s resumption of the forensic audit into the accounts of the Banque du Liban tomorrow, after completing all necessary arrangements,” the Lebanese Presidency said in a tweet.

The previous Lebanese government had tasked the consultants to conduct an audit of the Lebanese central bank last year, but Alvarez & Marsal terminated the contract last November after the bank refused to hand over all the necessary documents.

Last month, Mr El Khalil signed a new a forensic audit agreement with the company.

The central bank cited a banking secrecy law, when it refused to hand over the documents,.

In December parliament voted to lift banking secrecy laws for the central bank and public institutions for a year. The finance ministry said in April that the central bank had agreed to hand over the documents needed for the forensic audit.

The finance ministry had previously said that A&M will submit its report to the government within 12 weeks of starting its work.

Updated: October 20, 2021, 11:33 AM