Middle East

Lebanon's central bank agrees to give A&M info for audit -finance ministry

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A view shows the Central Bank building, in Beirut, Lebanon November 12, 2020. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

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BEIRUT, April 6 (Reuters) - Lebanon's finance ministry said the central bank agreed on Tuesday to provide by the end of the month the documents required by Alvarez & Marsal for a stalled forensic audit.

The audit, which hit a roadblock last year, is a key condition for foreign aid that Lebanon badly needs as it grapples with a financial collapse rooted in decades of waste and graft. The currency has crashed and banks are paralysed.

When restructuring consultancy A&M withdrew from the audit last November, it said it had not received the information it needed from Lebanon's central bank.

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Parliament agreed in December to lift banking secrecy for one year, amid much back-and-forth between Lebanese officials including the ministry and the central bank over whether certain information could be disclosed.

After a meeting with the central bank and A&M on Tuesday, the finance ministry said the bank confirmed its commitment to an audit and to deadlines to provide the necessary documents. It said attendees would stay in contact "in order to re-activate the forensic audit and evaluate the current development".

There was no immediate comment from the central bank or A&M.

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Reporting by Ellen Francis;

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