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Ronan Manly: Lack of audits undermines Lebanon's claim to be Middle East gold heavyweight

Section: Daily Dispatches

By Ronan Manly
Bullion Star, Singapore
Monday, May 9, 2022

With claimed gold reserves of 286 tonnes, Lebanon's central bank -- Banque du Liban -- trumpets itself as being one of the Middle East's largest sovereign gold holders. In fact, on a regional basis, only the claimed gold reserves of Saudi Arabia are larger.

Indeed, Banque du Liban governor Riad Salameh made this very claim as recently as April 8 to Egypt's Middle East News Agency, saying that Lebanon has the second largest gold reserves across the Middle East and North Africa.

... Dispatch continues below ...


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However, what Salameh didn't mention in his interview is that the portion of Lebanon's gold claimed to be held in Beirut has not been audited for at least 30 years or even longer, nor did he clarify anything about the remainder of Lebanon's gold which is said (by a media narrative) to be held in the  of that veritable and ever trustworthy privately-owned institution, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

In fact, given the choice, it's difficult to say which is worse -- not being able to prove a claim that you have hundreds of tonnes of gold stored domestically, or not being able to prove if the other hundreds of tonnes of gold you claim were entrusted to the New York Fed are actually still there. But unfortunately for the citizens of Lebanon, the Lebanese central bank ticks both boxes.

But that's just the beginning, because the situation on the ground is even murkier. ...

... For the remainder of the analysis:

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