Lebanon Arrests Director at Central Bank Over Currency Chaos

Lebanon’s financial prosecutor ordered the detention of a director at Banque Du Liban for alleged currency manipulation, the first such move against a central bank that’s been under heavy scrutiny since the start of the country’s financial crisis, Bloomberg News reported. Prosecutor Ali Ibrahim said Mazen Hamdan, director of the cash operations department at the central bank, bought dollars from exchange bureaus and weakened the pound on the black market, the state-run National News Agency reported. A police unit accompanied Hamdan to his office in Beirut to seize documents related to the transactions. The central bank said it conducted its own investigation into the allegations and concluded that there was no evidence of currency manipulation, saying it sold a total of $12.7 million in the past month and only $470,000 went to exchange bureaus. The total amount of dollars bought is $11.3 million, it said. “Evidently and after looking at the numbers and contrary to the rumors, there was no manipulation in the money exchange market as a result of the bank’s operations,” the central bank said in a statement. Read more