Lebanon Approves Some Banking Law Changes Demanded by IMF

Lebanon’s parliament late Tuesday approved some amendments to a banking secrecy law that has been a key demand of the International Monetary Fund before it agrees to a bailout program amid the country’s economic meltdown, the Associated Press reported. Despite the changes, legal advocacy groups say the alterations to the law will likely not be enough to please the IMF because it restricts moves to lift banking secrecy provisions to judicial authorities. The decades-old law is seen by many as a way to hide the widespread corruption that brought the small nation to bankruptcy over the past three years. “We agreed on a law to lift banking secrecy with some amendments where we widely expanded the number of groups that can ask to lift banking secrecy,” the head of parliament’s finance and budget committee, Ibrahim Kanaan, said in a tweet. “Negotiations with the International Monetary Fund have not stopped, and we have been in constant communication in the past days and hours so there won’t be flaws in the agreement that Lebanon aspires to.” Among the amendments is the authority to lift banking secrecy off accounts retroactively to 1988. Kanaan told local television station Al-Jadeed that some proposed amendments in line with the IMF’s critiques were voted out of the legislation during Tuesday’s session. Read more.