Najib Mikati says his wealth is legal after Pandora Papers leak that he owns an offshore company in Panama.
Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s family wealth comes from a communications company that has been audited and legal in the past, a statement from his office said in response to a massive leak of financial documents.
Daraj, a Lebanese news organization that reported on the Pandora Papers — a series of leaked documents claiming to reveal offshore transactions with prominent global figures — said Mikati owned an offshore company in Panama called Hessvile, with which he owned a property in Monaco. bought worth seven million euros ($8.1 million).
Mikati’s son Maher was a director of at least two companies based in the British Virgin Islands.
On Tuesday, Mikati said owning real estate through businesses was a common commercial practice that was legal.
Mikati’s family assets were checked when his communications company was listed in London in 2005 and later merged with South Africa’s MTN, the statement said.
It said Mikati had disclosed his wealth and property to the Lebanese Constitutional Council since the beginning of his political career.
“Wealth is not necessarily accumulated at the expense of the public interest and the needy,” Mikati’s statement said.
The use of offshore companies is not illegal and does not in itself constitute evidence of wrongdoing, but the news organizations that published the treasure said such schemes may be designed to hide transactions from tax collectors or other authorities.
The Daraj report includes senior political figures and bankers in Lebanon who it said: had used offshore havens.
Mikatic a cabinet formed last month after more than a year of political deadlock that exacerbated Lebanon’s financial crisis, described by the World Bank as one of the deepest depressions in modern history.
His government must implement reforms to resume talks with the International Monetary Fund and unlock foreign aid.
The Lebanese pound has lost more than 90 percent of its value since 2019, and according to a recent United Nations report, more than 70 percent of Lebanon’s six million residents have lost their lives. live below the poverty line.
In March 2020, Lebanon suspended payment of $1.2 billion in loans, defaulting for the first time.