Firm hired to audit Lebanon central bank has not received all requested info — sources

A view of Lebanon's Central Bank building in Beirut, Lebanon April 23, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 28 October 2020

Firm hired to audit Lebanon central bank has not received all requested info — sources

BEIRUT: Restructuring consultancy Alvarez & Marsal has yet to receive all the information it has requested to conduct a forensic audit of Lebanon’s central bank, according to three sources familiar with the matter.
The Lebanese government hired the turnaround specialist this year to audit the central bank as the country grapples with a financial meltdown on a scale it has never seen before.
Alvarez & Marsal declined to comment.
The central bank said this month that it had provided “all the documents and information which Lebanese laws allow.”
Lebanon’s crisis has hammered the local currency, paralyzed banks and prompted a sovereign default. The audit is a key demand of the International Monetary Fund and of foreign donors, with France at the forefront, which have pressed the indebted state to tackle waste and corruption.
A Lebanese official source and two other sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday that a team from Alvarez & Marsal, which visited Beirut this month, did not receive all the information it requested from the central bank.
The bank had cited legislation and banking secrecy, said the sources, who all declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.
The sources said Alvarez & Marsal had sent a new set of questions to the central bank. It was not clear if they covered information already requested.
A spokesman for Lebanon’s central bank, in response to a Reuters request for comment, said it had provided all its accounts for the audit, but added it “can not provide the accounts of its clients, by law not by choice.”
He added that the contract signed between the company and the finance ministry was subject to Lebanese law, so it was “no surprise” that some information could not be disclosed.
Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh did not respond to a request for comment.
Local broadcasters cited MP Ibrahim Kanaan, head of parliament’s budget and financial affairs commission, as saying on Wednesday that the contract was subject to Lebanese laws including banking secrecy, and that it should be amended. He did not elaborate on how it should be changed.


Saudi central bank governor expects more competition, growth in fintech

Updated 01 December 2020

Saudi central bank governor expects more competition, growth in fintech

  • SAMA issued several regulations and systems related to fintech, as part of its efforts to promote the sector

DUBAI: The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) expects more competition and growth in the new sectors such as financial technology (fintech), as well as the conventional industries of the capital market, including banks, said Governor Ahmed Alkholeify.

Speaking during the opening session of “Fintech Tour 2020”, the SAMA governor stated that the central bank took a key step towards activating the Sandbox experimental environment, which resulted in the establishment of 32 fintech firms.

In addition, SAMA issued several regulations and systems related to fintech, as part of its efforts to promote the sector and achieve the targets of the financial sector development program, he added.

Meanwhile, Mohammed El-Kuwaiz, chairman, Capital Market Authority (CMA) highlighted the importance of innovation in fintech-related solutions in the capital market, adding that fintech enables the capital market to capitalize and reach out to more segments of companies and investors who previously had no access to the capital market.

"This technology has successfully delivered services to the largest possible number of people. We are excited about what fintech can provide for the capital market in terms of broadening its base of participants and beneficiaries."

El-Kuwaiz also indicated that fintech solutions are innovative by nature, and hence require tailored regulatory frameworks.

The CMA continues to motivate and enable entrepreneurs, with three rounds of licensing fintech companies completed, resulting in licensing of 15 firms in various domains, the chairman stated.

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