Lebanese Forces deputy chief MP George Adwan on Tuesday accused Banque du Liban, Lebanon’s central bank, of possible tax evasion, drawing a swift response from BDL Governor Riad Salameh.
“Controlling tax evasion can change the financial situation in Lebanon,” Adwan said during a parliamentary session on the 2017 state budget.
“It is shocking to know that the revenues from BDL are LBP 61 billion. We have treasury bonds worth LBP 27,000 billion and the bank is obliged to pay a billion dollars to the state treasury from its profits that result from treasury bonds,” Adwan added.
“Where is inspection and accountability? It is nonexistent because BDL has relations that are bigger than everyone. We are busy with taxes while BDL should pay $1 billion every year,” the MP went on to say.
He called on Finance Minister Ali Hassan Khalil to “put us in the picture of BDL’s profits throughout the past 20 years through a detailed report.”
Speaker Nabih Berri then asked Adwan to submit a request for the formation of a parliamentary panel of inquiry and the MP said that he would file a request within 48 hours.
In remarks to LBCI television, Salameh said BDL has submitted yearly auditing reports to the Finance Ministry for the past 20 years.
“The bank’s records are subject to auditing by two international firms that have nothing to do with BDL,” Salameh noted, stressing that the central bank has never refrained from paying its obligations to the state treasury.