| 17 October 2021, Sunday |

Mikati’s office responds to what was mentioned in the “Pandora” documents

The office of Prime Minister Najib Mikati issued the following statement:

In light of the recently revealed “Pandora Papers”, it is important to stress the fact that the origin of the wealth of Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati and his family derives from more than 20 years of continuous work in the telecom sector, which peaked in 2005, with the inclusion of the telecom company (which was owned by the Mikati family) on the main board of the London Stock Exchange, and the subsequent merger with the leading telecommunications company, MTN, based in Johannesburg.

Therefore, the source of the Mikati family wealth was well scrutinized by the relevant bodies and entities that were leading the initial public offering (IPO), proving that the source of the wealth itself is well documented, legal, legitimate and audited, and that it derives from the global activities of the family business that preceded the entry of President Najib Mikati to the public field in Lebanon.

The ownership of Monaco, among other assets around the world, specifically mentioned in the “papers”, is not the only property owned by a corporate entity, as most of the family assets and properties fall under the same principle of management and good governance, and the regulation of ownership by legal entities that Flexibility, in addition to corporate, financial, and tax advantages, is a common and legal business practice if multiple family members share the same assets.

In addition, the assets and properties of President Najib Mikati have been declared to the Constitutional Council of Lebanon since he entered politics, in accordance with the laws, rules and regulations in force.

It should be noted that not all of the people named in the “Pandora Papers” are necessarily accused of wrongdoing. Also, not all accumulated wealth must occur at the expense of the common good and the needy.

Unfortunately, the logic behind The Papers drifted towards turning most, if not all, of those mentioned into “suspicious” individuals and/or companies, just to list them there. This logic runs counter to free market practices and good governance, in liberal economies, and the principles advocated by the Mikati family.

Since its inception, the M1 Group (the Mikati family company), as well as all of its subsidiaries around the world, have advocated the separation of the public and private sectors. It continues to be fully compliant with global standards and by appointing global auditors, in addition to operating in multiple jurisdictions.

The Group respects the right of directors and/or senior executives to run for office or hold public office. However, politics and/or public office holders do not affect the group’s guiding principles and business operations, and vice versa.

Whatever the circumstances, Prime Minister Najib Mikati and the M1 group respect and adhere to the rule of law everywhere.