The Media Office of Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Mikati has issued the following statement:
In the context of the recently revealed “Pandora Papers”, it would be important to emphasize the fact that the origin of the wealth of Lebanon’s Prime Minister Najib Mikati is derived from over 20 years of sustained work in the telecom sector, that culminated in 2005, with the listing of the telecom company – (that the Mikati family used to own) – on the main board of the London Stock Exchange; and its subsequent merger with the Johannesburg-based telecom leader MTN. Therefore, the source of wealth of the Mikati family had been well-scrutinized by the concerned bodies and entities that were piloting the Initial Public Offering (IPO) - thus certifying that the same source of wealth was well-documented, legal, legitimate and audited; and that it derived from the family business’ global activities that preceded the entry of Najib Mikati into politics in Lebanon.
The Monaco property, among other assets around the world, specifically mentioned in the “Papers”, is not the only property owned via a corporate entity. Most family assets and properties fall under the same corporate principle of management and good governance. It is a common and lawful business practice that, in case many family members share the same assets, to organize the ownership via legal entities that offer flexibility as well as corporate, financial and fiscal advantages.
In addition, all the assets and properties belonging to PM Najib Mikati have been duly disclosed to the Constitutional Council in Lebanon, as per the prevailing laws, rules and regulations, since he entered politics.
It is worth highlighting that not all people mentioned in the “Pandora Papers” are necessarily accused of wrongdoings. Also, not all fortunes amassed ought to have necessarily happened at the expense of the common good and needy people.
Regrettably, the underlying logic behind the “Papers” drifted toward transforming most, if not all, of those mentioned into “suspicious” individuals &/or companies, by the mere fact of being listed in there - a logic that goes against the free-market business practices and good governance, in liberal economies, principles that the Mikati family defends.
Since its inception, M1 Group (the Mikati family business) – and all of its subsidiaries around the world – have upheld a separation between public and private. They continue to be fully compliant with global standards; retain world-class auditors; and operate in multiple jurisdictions.
The group respects the right of board members &/or senior executives to run for or hold public office. However, politics &/or public office holders do not influence the group’s guiding principles and business operations; and vice-versa.
At all times, PM Mikati and M1 Group respect the rule of law and abide by it everywhere. All rights reserved.
Source: Asharq Al-Awsat