Lebanon Businessnews News

Update: IMF audio
announced as hoax
Investment and reform will

improve growth prospects

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Updated to include IMF Statement

A message that went viral on social media, attributed to an official from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has been discovered to be a hoax.

The voice message was recognized as that of Mohamad Zeidan, a former Assistant Dean at the Olayan School of Business at the American University of Beirut (OSB-AUB). His comments were made during a conference organized in Beirut last month. Zeidan was intervening as a member of the audience.

The IMF announced that the comments do not represent IMF’s opinion. “Zeidan does not work for the IMF, and therefore his opinion does not represent the institution,” said a source at the IMF.

The message garnered a wide audience and thousands of comments.

In the voice message, Zeidan posed as an IMF expert and denounced corruption and the lack of performance from the government and the political establishment. He deemed the current political structure unable to change, and opined that Lebanon does not need foreign financial assistance.

The following statement was issued in the name of IMF Spokesperson Alistair Thomson: “We have seen some comments by Mohamad Zeidan in which he claimed an association with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Zeidan does not represent the IMF and we are not aware he has any connection with the IMF in any capacity. Our assessment of the Lebanese economy and all related communications are available on the IMF's external website. Our view is that Lebanon can create jobs, improve its growth prospects, and improve its debt position if it implements the Capital Investment Plan together with decisive fiscal adjustment and structural reform.“

Reported by Rania Ghanem
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Date Posted: Apr 03, 2018