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Saad Hariri 'gifted $16 million' to bikini model: reports

Candice told Hariri she loved him, as she gave him her bank details (Getty)

Date of publication: 1 October, 2019

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Saad Hariri gave more than $16 million to a bikini model, after they met in the Seychelles, according to South African court documents obtained by The New York Times.
Saad Hariri, prime minister of Lebanon, gave more than $16 million to a South African bikini model, after they met in the Seychelles, according to South African court documents obtained by The New York Times.

His bank transfers to the model Candice van der Merwe were made between his two terms as prime minister, with the first being made in 2013.  

The energy drink promoter was 20 years old at the time.

In an email to Hariri giving her bank account details, she wrote “Love you my Saad :),” explaining that the money was to buy property.

The Times reported that der Merwe met Hariri at an exclusive resort in the Seychelles Islands called The Plantation Club that was “frequented by some of the richest private individuals in the world,” including billionaires “for whom money is no object.”

“It is the norm for lavish parties and events to be held” she said according to the report, while models lent "a sense of glamour and exclusivity.”

Merwe used the millions to buy extravagant propery in Cape Town. 

The incredible transfer lead to a tax dispute with the South African authorities which was settled in 2016.  The model subsequently appealed, and a judge dismissed the case last month.   

The report comes as Lebanon faces economic crisis.  

Economic growth in Lebanon has plummeted in the wake of repeated political deadlocks in recent years, compounded by the impact of eight years of war in neighbouring Syria.

Lebanon's public debt stands at around $86 billion - higher than 150 percent of GDP - according to the finance ministry.

Eighty percent of that figure is owed to Lebanon's central bank and local banks.

Last month, ratings agency Fitch bumped the country down to "CCC" over what it called "intensifying pressure on Lebanon's financing model".


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