The first report of the forensic audit in September and its content will indicate the next steps

The first report of the forensic audit in September and its content will indicate the next steps

| Thursday 28 July 2022

Daoud Rammal, "Akhbar al-Yawm" agency

Does the audit include tax evasion through offshore investments in high-profit portfolios?

If the Forensic audit had started since the issuance of the decision by the Council of ministers on March 26, 2020, the current government would not have been lost in the search for sources of funding for the public sector, which is no longer able to continue as a result of the large and serious gap between what is required of it and what is provided to it and what the requirements of living according to the most basic elements of acceptable and decent living have become.

In the new Alvarez & Marsal company, which started the audit process last June 29 and is continuing the audit process at the Bank of Lebanon, a well-informed source confirms to "Akhbar al-Yawm" agency that "it will issue its first report next September, and this report will indicate the next steps, that at the level of the central bank or at the level of departments, public institutions and ministries".

According to the source, "the Forensic audit will open new prospects for radical remedies for the systematic looting led by the political class over decades, and it will also open the door very wide for governments to go through the process of expanding tax options, which limited their options within it".

The source reveals that "the Forensic audit, which has not yet addressed the money transferred abroad and invested in high-profit portfolios such as advanced technology and renewable energy, any new authority will find itself facing the inevitability of checking these transfers, noting that these transfers were made in legitimate ways because the law does not prevent this".

The source explains that "World Bank officials estimate that five billion dollars were invested in these high-profit portfolios, which were invested in 2019 and 2020, and these investments are currently worth $36 billion, which means that tax revenues would have increased if these portfolios were taxed".

The source confirms that "there are very wide options to supplement the Lebanese treasury with hundreds of millions of dollars of taxes without incurring the owners of medium and limited incomes tax burdens that they are no longer able to bear, and it is enough to start correcting the scandalous imbalance in the fulfillment of duties and taxes, specifically at Air, Sea and land crossings, as companies deduct tax in dollars while they pay to the Lebanese state in Lebanese pounds and at the official price, i.e. 1515 pounds per dollar, which loses the Treasury huge funds that are urgently needed in the face of the two serious economic and financial crises that Lebanon is suffering from".

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