Auditor quits as turmoil surrounding Lebanon’s economic crisis deepens

SourceArabian Business

The chaos surrounding Lebanon’s economic crisis has deepened after international firm Alvarez & Marsal terminated its contract to audit the central bank’s accounts. A key step in unlocking billions of dollars in aid, the decision is a blow to Lebanon's attempts to extricate itself from its financial turmoil, which has been rooted in endemic waste and corruption for years. Auditor Alvarez & Marsal is unable to complete its investigation because it is being denied access to nearly 100 documents Alvarez & Marsal announced its withdrawal from the forensic audit in Lebanon, despite an agreement earlier this month to extend its contract for another three months. Ultimately, it was the central bank repeated claims that banking secrecy laws dating from the 1950s prevented it from handing over all the information sought by the auditors that did for Alvarez & Marsal. The bank delivered less than half of the documents that Alvarez & Marsal had requested. A finance ministry statement said that the audit firm was not certain it would be granted access to the necessary data despite the new deadline. Alvarez & Marsal did not respond to an Arabian Business request for comment. A financial source with close knowledge of the auditing process told Arabian Business: " more...