While disclosing this on Wednesday September 9, 2020, the Finance Ministry said the audit aimed to help the nation tackle its financial crisis.
Crushed by a mountain of debt, Lebanon’s financial system crumbled in 2019, with banks shutting out customers from deposits while the local currency went into tailspin. This year, Lebanon defaulted on its sovereign debt for the first time.
The crisis was exacerbated by last month’s huge port explosion that ruined a swathe of Beirut.
Talks on a deal with the International Monetary Fund, vital to winning broader international aid, stalled after just a few weeks this year as the central bank, commercial banks, and politicians disputed the scale of losses in the system.
The outgoing government, which resigned after public pressure following the port blast, said the forensic audit would show transparency to reassure donors.
Riad Salameh, Banque du Liban’s governor for 27 years, has defended the central bank’s role, saying it maintained stability as successive governments racked up debt. He has dismissed what he said were rumors he would quit.