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BDL AUDIT

New finance minister will sign contract with auditing firm within days, Wazni says

New finance minister will sign contract with auditing firm within days, Wazni says

Finance Minister Youssef Khalil (left) stands with his predecessor, Ghazi Wazni, at the ministry’s handover ceremony Tuesday. (Credit: Philippe Hage Boutros/L’Orient-Le Jour)

BEIRUT — The country’s new finance minister will sign a new contract between Lebanon and the international auditing firm Alvarez & Marsal within “a few days,” outgoing Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni said on Tuesday during a handover ceremony at the ministry.

Here’s what we know:

    • The new Alvarez & Marsal contract, under which a forensic audit of the central bank would be conducted, is currently still being studied by the Court of Accounts with less than three and a half months left before the end of the validity of the December 2020 law lifting banking secrecy from Banque du Liban and public institutions’ accounts expires.

    • Lebanon had previously signed a contract with Alvarez & Marsal in September 2020, but the BDL’s refusal on grounds of banking secrecy to hand over documents requested for the audit eventually led the firm to quit in November. In August, BDL paid the firm $150,000 as it was contractually obliged to do in the event the firm was unsuccessful in obtaining the documents necessary to start its audit.

    • Speaking at the handover event, Wazni welcomed his successor Youssef Khalil, saying the ministry has now been entrusted “in a very difficult context, to an expert and a friend.”

    • Khalil, for his part, said the country is living at a “historic moment” and that the new government would “either succeed or fail” to rectify the situation and restructure Lebanon, and that the Finance Ministry would be “an essential vector” of change. The former top central bank official assured that he would organize regular meetings “in full transparency” with “officials and experts,” adding,  “We must show that we are on the side of the citizen.”


BEIRUT — The country’s new finance minister will sign a new contract between Lebanon and the international auditing firm Alvarez & Marsal within “a few days,” outgoing Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni said on Tuesday during a handover ceremony at the ministry.Here’s what we know:    • The new Alvarez & Marsal contract, under which a forensic audit of the central bank...