Lebanon c.bank says completed audit of gold on IMF request

BEIRUT, Nov 24 (Reuters) – Lebanon’s central bank has completed an audit of its gold reserves at the request of the International Monetary Fund that found the amount of gold in its vaults was identical to the amounts mentioned in its balance sheets, a bank statement said.

Lebanon reached a staff-level agreement with the IMF in April for a $3 billion program that requires Lebanon to fulfill a number of prior actions, including an audit of the central bank’s foreign asset position, which includes gold.

An IMF deal is widely seen as the only way for Lebanon to begin exiting one of the world’s most severe economic crises, now in its fourth year.

The central bank statement said the independent audit, carried out by “a specialized and professional international auditing firm”, was aimed at enhancing transparency at the central bank.

“It became clear to this company that the gold assets of the central bank (ingots and coins) correspond completely, in quantity and quality, to the entries recorded in the accounting records of the central bank,” the statement said.

A spokesperson for the central bank said they were unable to provide Reuters with a copy of the audit report, and said they were unaware which company had carried out the audit.

Reporting by Timour Azhari; Editing by Alex Richardson

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