Top exchangers accused of currency speculation arrested
Security forces have arrested a number of notorious money changers who are accused of currency speculation operations in a wave of raids across Lebanon.
According to TV networks, those arrested include Ali Nimr al-Khalil, his relative Issa Kanj and others who have recently emerged as the main currency speculators in the country.
The raids and arrests were carried out by the Information Branch of the Internal Security Forces.
“A large force from the Information Branch raided the places of a number of illegal money changers in Sidon, arresting three of them and seizing a sum of money from one of them,” MTV reported.
“The raids continued until dawn due to the search for their shops or places of residence,” the TV network added.
“Another individual, who hails from Sidon, was arrested on Tripoli’s road, raising the number of detainees to four,” MTV said.
A number of illegal money changers were also arrested in the Zahrani region, including one in Sarafand.
The development comes days after State Prosecutor Judge Ghassan Oueidat sent a memo to Financial Prosecutor Judge Ali Ibrahim asking him to “immediately” order the arrest of the money changers and speculators who are contributing to “the collapse of the national currency.”
According to media reports, the request for the arrest of currency speculators was initially made by Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh.
The Lebanese pound, which had already lost more than 95 percent of its value since 2019, plummeted to new lows against the dollar in recent days, trading for nearly LBP 65,000 against the dollar on the black market.
Since 2019, Lebanon has been in the throes of an economic crisis dubbed by the World Bank as one of the worst in recent global history, pushing much of the population into poverty.
As the local currency nosedived, fuel prices have soared, reaching about $19 for 20 liters of petrol.