BEIRUT— Lebanon's outgoing central bank governor Riad Salameh told Reuters on Friday that Banque du Liban (BDL) could still contain the country's financial meltdown through "monetary initiatives" after he leaves office at the end of the month.
Salameh, 73, pledged to leave when his term ends on Monday, his 30-year-tenure recently tarnished by the economy's spectacular collapse as well as local and international charges of embezzlement of public funds.
In written comments to Reuters on Friday, Salameh said he had acted according to the law and that his lawyers had filed legal objections in France and Germany, two countries where he faces charges.
"As I leave and despite the crisis that was expected to create a total collapse, the central bank could, through monetary initiatives, contain this crisis," said Salameh.
The BDL governor added that Lebanon's economy grew by 2 percent last year and could expand by as much as 4 percent in 2023, but provided no more specific metrics.
The country's financial meltdown has cost the local currency roughly 98 percent of its value, contracted GDP by 40 percent and pushed inflation into triple digits, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Lebanon's political class has been unable to name a successor to Salameh, risking even more dysfunction in a state already hollowed out by years of political paralysis and financial turmoil.
According to Lebanese law, BDL's first deputy governor, Wassim Mansouri, will take over in the absence of a successor.
Mansouri and three other deputy governors have proposed a host of measures, including expedited legislation to reform the banking sector and implement capital controls, but the political elite has resisted reform measures in recent years, casting a shadow of uncertainty over the BDL's future.