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file photo : Protesters in Lebanon broke the rules of the government-imposed lockdown and gathered outside the Central bank in Hamra street in Beirut calling on Lebanese Central Bank’s governor Riad Salameh to step down . Salameh’s so called Ponzi scheme was blamed by UN chief for the financial collapse of Lebanon . Lebanon’s financial collapse was caused by “something similar to a Ponzi scheme”, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in videotaped comments made during a closed-door meeting on his visit to Beirut this week.

BEIRUT- Lebanon’s central bank extended on Thursday the deadline for withdrawing from dollar deposits to Jan. 31, a central bank statement said.

The central bank on Dec. 16 said it was providing banks with U.S. dollars via its foreign exchange platform, Sayrafa, so they could in turn pay depositors in U.S. dollars rather than in Lebanese pounds.

This announcement could be misleading since according to observers it affects only the accounts that allow withdrawals of $800 per month , half of which is paid in US dollars and the balance is paid in Lebanese pounds at the rate of 12120 LL per US dollar , but the only difference here is the Central bank is telling the Lebanese banks to pay all the 800 in US dollars unless the client asks to paid in Lebanese currency .

It is not clear why the bank is claiming that it is extending the deadline to January 31 , since the program was set up last July and was supposed to be a 5 year plan that allowed $9600 per year withdrawals from $ 50, 000 accounts

Reuter’s/ YL

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