The cash-strapped country's national currency, once valued at 1,500 to the dollar, has been tanking since late 2019 and has since lost over 90% of its value. The financial crisis has plunged three-quarters of the population into poverty, with millions struggling to cope with some of the world's sharpest inflation. Experts blame the country's entrenched ruling elites for decades of corruption and financial mismanagement.
The Lebanese pound's plunge comes days after a European judicial delegation from France, Germany, and Luxembourg landed in Beirut to interrogate embattled Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh and a dozen affiliates in a European money laundering investigation of some $330 million. They so far have questioned banking officials and former central bank officials. Switzerland and Liechtenstein have also opened probes against Salameh for money laundering allegations.