Lebanon’s embattled central bank chief Riad Salameh said on Sunday he would leave his post once his latest term ends in July even if he is asked to stay longer.
“No one has asked me to continue [as central bank chief], but even if they do, I think this is enough,” he said in a televised interview with Egypt’s AlQahera News on Sunday.
Salameh, who became the head of the central bank in 1993, has come under increased scrutiny both at home and abroad since Lebanon’s financial system began unraveling in 2019.
The collapse has locked most savers out of their bank accounts and pushed more than 80 percent of Lebanon’s population below the poverty line.
On Sunday, Salameh said the economic crisis was due to ongoing political instability and that inadequate foreign currency reserves had prompted parallel exchange rates.
Those preconditions also included an audit of the central bank’s foreign asset position, which includes gold.
Salameh said on Sunday that Lebanon’s gold reserves were valued at $17 billion.
The central bank had announced in November that a “specialized and professional international auditing firm” had completed an audit of the gold reserves, but had not announced its value.
– Reuters. Edited for style.