IMF underscores need for audit of Lebanese central bank

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The International Monetary Fund said on Thursday its discussions with Lebanese authorities are focused on the need for an accounting and financial audit of the balance sheet of the country’s central bank to help assess its assets and liabilities.

IMF spokesman Gerry Rice told reporters such an audit would also help assess the central bank’s financing of government operations and its “financial engineering” of its own net worth, key elements to understanding past losses.

Rice told a regular briefing that the Lebanese finance minister had recently signed financial and forensic audits of the central bank.

He said IMF officials had also offered Lebanese authorities technical assistance to help face some of the challenges following the Aug. 4 explosion at the Beirut port that killed about 190 people and caused $4.6 billion in damages.

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