Probe Ordered in Alleged Eurobond Operations Involving Lebanese Banks
Justice Minister Marie-Claude Najm on Tuesday asked State Prosecutor Ghassan Oueidat to request information from the central bank’s Special Investigation Commission on alleged Eurobond operations involving some Lebanese banks and global financial firms.
The National News Agency said Najm's move follows “media reports that some Lebanese banks have placed their bonds under the name of some foreign institutions to pressure the State to pay the debt.”
Lebanon has the world's third-highest debt to GDP ratio and has been sliding towards default in recent months, with tight capital controls and a currency devaluation already hitting purchasing power.
Lebanon is expected to decide soon whether to pay $1.2 billion in Eurobonds that reach maturity on March 9 or to default on its debt.
The country has requested help from the International Monetary Fund to assess the measures needed to rebuild the economy, but has not yet asked for financial assistance.
An IMF delegation is due to start talks with top Lebanese officials on Thursday.