Swiss Newspaper: Lebanon's Central Bank Hid IMF Warnings About Economic Crisis
A Swiss newspaper obtains a document revealing that Lebanon's Central Bank Governor crossed out 14 pages of an International Monetary Fund report in 2016 that warned of Lebanon's economic crisis.
Swiss newspaper, Le Temps, revealed that Lebanon's Central Bank and its governor, Riad Salameh, crossed out 14 pages of an IMF report in 2016 that warned of the economic crisis that befell Lebanon after 3 years.
The newspaper mentioned that it was able to obtain a document about the meeting held on April 9, 2016, between representatives of the IMF in Lebanon, the governor, and several other Central Bank officials.
The revealed document said that an IMF representative warned Salameh that Lebanon is "on the verge of collapse."
According to the newspaper, reports prepared by IMF's Financial Sector Assessment Program had shown that the net deficit of the Central Bank has a gap of $4.7 billion, which represents 10% of the gross domestic product.
They also indicated that Lebanese banks do not have the needed capital to face a potential crisis.
Le Temps reported that the crossed-out information might have allowed reducing the economic crisis that Lebanon has been facing since 2020, the worst since the civil war between 1975 and 1990.
Lebanon's poverty rate increased from 28% to 55% in one year, as 6 million citizens were deprived of access to their bank accounts, while the country is facing fuel and medicine shortages.
However, the IMF also bears a great responsibility for not publishing the full report that would have made a difference. The report published in January 2017 consisted of 70 pages, while the original version was 84 pages long.