Lebanese billionaire caught up in latest Fillon scandal
Written by Malek

François Fillon avec Fouad Makhzoumi lors d'un dîner organisé à Beyrouth par l'homme d'affaires en 2014 © DR

by The Daily Star

BEIRUT: Billionaire Lebanese businessman Fouad Makhzoumi has been linked to French presidential candidate Francois Fillon, raising questions about a conflict of interest, French media reported. Online investigative and opinion journal Mediapart revealed Tuesday that Makhzoumi is a client of the scandal-hit French right-leaning politician, and the billionaire’s company 2F Conseil signed a contract with Fillon in 2016 after he had already been picked as the Les Republicains party candidate. The existence of the contract was confirmed by Fillon’s communication advisor Myriam Levy. Regis Lefebvre, a consultant for Makhzoumi’s company Future Pipe Industries, said limited donations had been made to the presidential candidate, though “if he has gained 10,000 or 20,000 euros [$10,700 or 21,500], it stops there.” The revelation has provoked speculation on the nature of the contract between the pair. Makhzoumi’s company, based in Dubai, is a world-leading supplier  of pipelines. He and Fillon have reportedly known each other for years, and the billionaire hosted a banquet in Fillon’s honor in Beirut in December 2014. He is said to be a “go-to guide” for Fillon on the Middle East. Fillon’s candidacy has been mired in scandal.