Berri pronounces banking ‘haircut’ plan dead before arrival


Lebanon House Speaker, Nabih Berri pronounces on Tuesday the so called haircut plan for bank deposits “dead” before arrival , stressing that it shall meet the same fate as that of the capital control suggestion.

“You can read Al-Fatiha ( Muslim prayer) for the suggested haircut as you have done for the capital control proposal,” Speaker Berri told parliament members who were meeting at his al Tineh residence.

Berri stressed that salvation is still possible though very difficult but not “impossible” if matters take the normal course.

He said that “the financial gap estimated at around $59 billion cannot be covered with the money of depositors,” the Speaker said several steps can be taken, such as “combating corruption, putting an end to the waste of public funds, deducting from bank interests and pumping new liquidity after merging and purifying banks.”

“There are measures and ideas that even the International Monetary Fund cannot reject and they would therefore restore confidence and make the world see us in a different way,” Berri went on to say.

Asked about the reform issue, Speaker Berri’s visitors said he emphasized the need to proceed with reforms and  applying laws on all, especially in the issues related to corruption, public funds’ squandering, and  the issuance of required laws on condition not to tamper with depositors’ money, which is sacred.

Speaker Berri chaired on Tuesday the Parliament’s Secretariat at his Ain el-Tineh residence, in the presence of Vice Speaker Elie Firzli and Secretariat members.

Speaker Berri also met with Deputy Prime Minister, National Defense Minister, Zeina Akar Adra, with whom he discussed the general situation and most recent security and political developments.

Speaker Berri later met with Finance Minister Dr. Ghazi Wazn. reportedly to discuss the current economic and financial situation. Wazni represents Berri in the Hezbollah backed cabinet of PM Hassan Diab.

Similarly President Michel Aoun is reportedly strongly opposed to any bank deposits “haircut,” Baabda sources have said.

“He does not intend to accept any haircut and he had recently informed the parties concerned of his rejection ,” the sources said in remarks published Tuesday in several local newspapers.

“It is totally out of the question that President Aoun could accept a haircut,” the sources stressed.