Salameh Says BDL to Inquire about Alleged Money Transfers
Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh said that legal measures will be taken to know the fate of sums of money allegedly transferred to Switzerland, amid an unprecedented economic and liquidity crisis gripping Lebanon.
"All legal measures needed will be taken to know the fate of money transfers to Switzerland in 2019 and if they truly happened,” he said in remarks to reporters after an urgent meeting of the Budget and Finance Parliamentary Committee.
The committee led by MP Ibrahim Kanaan convened in the presence of caretaker Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil and Head of the Association of Banks in Lebanon Salim Sfeir.
Asked whether Lebanon is going to contact Switzerland to inquire on the issue, Salameh said: “We have to confirm first whether these remittances actually came out of Lebanon,” noting that inquiries will affect the “politically exposed, politicians and bank owners.”
He assured that traces of transfers can not be hidden “nothing can be hidden,” he said.
Reports say that public funds stolen in Lebanon were transferred by public figures to Swiss banks. The transfers reportedly approached 6.5 billion dollars.
Lebanon has been rocked by unprecedented popular protests since October 17 over official mismanagement and corruption demonstrators blame for a deteriorating economy.
In a country where the local currency is pegged to the US dollar and used in everyday transactions, banks have gradually restricted greenback withdrawals, causing a dollar liquidity crisis that has made imports increasingly difficult and expensive.