BEIRUT: A Lebanese prosecutor charged a bank manager and money changers with manipulating the exchange rate and money laundering on Thursday in an currency crisis probe, official sources said.
Lebanon is in the midst of its worst economic crunch in decades, compounded by a coronavirus lockdown.
Banks have gradually stopped all dollar withdrawals in recent months, and the local currency has plummeted from 1,507 to more than 4,000 pounds to the dollar on the black market.
“Financial prosecutor Ali Ibrahim charged the deputy head of the money changers’ union Elie S., as well as a number of senior money changers ... and a bank employee, with the crimes of violating the money changing law and money laundering,” among other charges, the National News Agency said.
Their cases have been referred to an investigative judge, it said.
Judicial sources told AFP nine people in total faced the same charges, also including “manipulating the exchange rate.”
Lebanon has detained dozens of foreign exchange office employees recently over the fast depreciating pound, including the head of the money changers’ union Mahmoud Mrad at the start of the month.