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Lebanon's billionaire prime minister denies allegations of money laundering in France

FILE-The Paris courthouse is pictured Monday, July 12, 2021 in Paris. (AP Photo/Lewis Joly, File) FILE-The Paris courthouse is pictured Monday, July 12, 2021 in Paris. (AP Photo/Lewis Joly, File)

Lebanon's billionaire caretaker prime minister has denied 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 with 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.

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 allegedly 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 in a statement published Wednesday by Lebanon's state-run National News Agency that he and members of his family have always acted in accordance with the law. He defended 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.

He founded the telecommunications company Investcom with his brother Taha in the 1980s and sold it in 2006 to South Africa's MTN Group for US$5.5 billion. Top Stories

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