Lebanon Daily News Brief 6/7/2021

Monday, June 7, 2021


French Financial Prosecutors Open Probe into Riad Salameh’s Wealth
Following recent complaints from Accountability Now, a Swiss foundation, and the anti-financial crime group Sherpa, French financial prosecutors have opened a probe into the personal wealth of Lebanon’s central bank governor Riad Salameh. The probe is expected to look into the sources of Salameh’s wealth following accusations of money laundering and embezzlement from Banque du Liban. [France 24]

World Bank May Be Willing to Add Additional $300m Loan
President Michel Aoun met with the World Bank Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa today to discuss Lebanon’s economic crisis. [Naharnet] They discussed Lebanon’s needed assistance and a World Bank sources suggested that the bank may be willing to increase the financial loan it previously offered by an additional $300 million. [The Daily Star]

Caretaker Finance Minister Wazni Approves Advanced Payment for Fuel
After Lebanon faced complete darkness over the weekend when private grantor owners began rationing electricity supply [Naharnet], caretaker Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni approved a payment today to purchase fuel for Electricite du Liban. He requested the presidency to approve the advanced payment in order to cover the purchase. [The Daily Star]

Citi Bank Names New Country Officer for Lebanon
Citi Bank recently named Ghassan Salem as its new country officer for Lebanon. Salem is replacing Michel Sawaya and will also become the head of corporate banking for Lebanon. [Reuters]


The Lebanese Center for Policy Studies
From Liability to Asset: How Syrian Refugees Can Benefit the Lebanese Economy
Daniel Garrote Sanchez

Sanchez writes: “It is often remarked, both in the media and public discourse, that the presence of refugees is a burden on their host country’s economy. However, studies have shown that refugees in fact bring with them a range of economic benefits: They increase the pool of skills available, channel aid funds to the local economy, and increase local consumption…Overall, a UNDP and UNHCR 2015 report f Indus that every $1 spent in humanitarian assistance had a positive multiplier effect in $1.6 in the local economy.” Sanchez and team conducted a survey in three mid-sized cities in Lebanon in order to study the economic gains and losses in different segments of the Lebanese population. The survey suggests, “ruling out major negative consequences to the Lebanese economy due to the arrival of refugees, but it shows that the refugee inflow might have exacerbated inequality in the country with higher income groups benefiting form their arrival while some of the poorer citizens bore a larger burden.”

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the American Task Force on Lebanon, a non-profit, nonpartisan leadership organization of Lebanese-Americans.