Lebanon’s billionaire PM denies allegations of money laundering in France

Lebanon's Prime Minister Najib Mikati meets with France's foreign minister at the government palace in Beirut on February 6, 2024. (Joseph Eid/AFP)
Lebanon's Prime Minister Najib Mikati meets with France's foreign minister at the government palace in Beirut on February 6, 2024. (Joseph Eid/AFP)

Lebanon’s billionaire caretaker prime minister has denied all allegations of money laundering after a complaint was filed in France by two anti-corruption groups this week.

The complaint against Najib Mikati was formally filed Tuesday to France’s National Financial Prosecutor’s office by French anti-corruption non-governmental organization Sherpa and the Collective of Victims of Fraudulent and Criminal Practices.

In a statement, Sherpa said the objective is to “shed light on the conditions under which Lebanese political figures like Najib Mikati accumulated considerable wealth and on the role of financial intermediaries who facilitated these acquisitions.”

No details were immediately available about the sums of money involved.

The group said it drew the attention of French prosecutors to the conditions under which Mikati “has accumulated significant assets in France. The complaint also questions the origin of the funds that transited through the French banking system.”

Mikati said he and members of his family have always acted in accordance with the law, in a statement published by Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency. The statement defends the family’s “integrity” and said its business is characterized by “complete transparency.”

French prosecutors have yet to decide whether to launch an investigation.

One of the richest men in Lebanon, Mikati, 68, has served as prime minister since 2021.

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