BEIRUT — The Union of the Central Bank Employees announced in a statement Tuesday their refusal to give “to those in charge of the financial and forensic audit the names and salaries of current and former employees of Banque du Liban, as well as [information concerning] the transactions on their bank accounts.”
Here’s what we know:
• The Lebanese government has signed two contracts with the Alvarez & Marsal financial audit firm to inspect BDL’s accounts. The first, which was signed in September 2020, ended with the firm quitting on the grounds that BDL failed to provide the requested documents. The second contract was signed in September 2021 and the financial audit is yet to be completed.
• In their statement, BDL employees claim that the General Data Protection Regulation law, which was issued by the European Union’s parliament in 2016, protects them from giving their personal data to the financial audit firm. Such information, they say, includes their bank account details, their names and their positions at BDL.
• In addition, the union indicated that BDL employees have not been asked for “prior and explicit agreement to share their information with a third party, as required by Law No. 200.” This law, which was passed by Lebanon’s Parliament in December 2020, lifted banking secrecy from BDL for one year.
• The law, however, expired on Dec. 29 and a Parliament sent a law that would extend it for another year back to the parliamentary committees for further discussion. After the move, several MPs, including the head of the parliamentary Finance and Budget Committee Ibrahim Kanaan, said that the decision not to extend the law would not affect the financial audit because the BDL had already provided the documents needed to the firm.