Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Lebanese-based Abela Group

Typical modern Contractor class in Lebanon political/social structure

You may refer to a previous article on modern Neoliberal Expatriate Contractor class in Lebanon that added a new social/political divide in the community structure https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/complicating-the-class-divide-new-contractor-bourgeoisie-in-lebanon-politics/

The biography of how four of them have accumulated so much wealth is developed in this article:

1. Late Rafik Hariri PM left the city of Saida for Saudi Arabia in 1964. He suffered a few bankruptcies in his civil work contracts. During the oil boom that started in the early 70’s in the Arab Gulf Emirates, Hariri struck gold in 1976 by teaming up with Nasr al Rashid.

Nasr was a Saudi engineer from a prominent family. Al Rashid relied increasingly on Rafik’s ingenuity for fulfilling highly complex public civil work contracts in Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi “rentier or renter State” was an important catalyst for quickly amassing wealth once the proper contacts and connections were established.

In early 1980,Rafik acquired a private plane and the fleet increased in varieties, cost, a luxury.

In 1982, Hariri connected directly with King Fahd after Israel preempted another war on Lebanon and entered the Capital Beirut. King Fahd took over the “cleaning-up” of Beirut city center (the demarcation line among the warring factions in the civil war) and extended to Rafik the necessary checkbook diplomacy to carry out reconciliation in the Chouf war of 1983.

The checkbook was ready in the Geneva and Lausanne (Switzerland) meetings in 1983 and 84. And the diplomacy disbursement resumed in the militia agreement in 1985, to be followed by the Taif agreement on a new Constitution for Lebanon in 1989.

In the early 1980, Rafik acquired Bank Mediterranean, and King Fahd disposed of $2 bn between 1983-96 for a student loan program so that strapped Lebanese could continue education overseas. Over 32, 000 students benefited from this program, and most of them were Sunni Moslems.

In 1991, Rafik Hariri was positioned to be assigned Prime Minister

As Rafik was assassinated in 2004, it turned out that his wealth amounted to $14 bn, and Seniora PM made sure to tax this fortune at $2 million, instead of the regulation 10%.

2. The wealth of the brothers Mikati (Taha and Najib) derives from the Arabian Construction Company, founded in 1967 in Abu Dhabi.

At some points, Taha subcontracted from Rafik Hariri.

In 1982, they founded a telecom company Investcom, which penetrated Sudan, Liberia, and Yemen. It ran an analogue mobile phone network during the civil war in Lebanon.

The Invest company M1 Group owns real estates in New York and London, and the French fashion Faconnable, and interests in oil explorations in Latin Columbia State.

In 1983, the Mikati brothers bought the licence for the British Bank of Lebanon.

In 1988, they created the Azm was Saade Foundation, which provided health and social services, mostly in Tripoli.

In 1994, the mobile Cellis had won a “Build-Operate-Transfer” (BOT) project and the brothers owned one third of the shares. The political gimmicks to extend the BOT from 10 to 20 years failed to materialize, as the President Lahoud was steadfast in retaining this State-controlled communication entity, and Najib Mikati PM allocated to himself $60 million in compensation.

3. Issam Fares, a Greek Orthodox from the district of Akkar, by the Syrian border, started as a merchant in the Lebanese-based Abela Group with vast food trading in Saudi Arabia.

Fares owned a controlling interest in Netherlands-based Balast Nedam and his civil work activities skyrocketed. This company secured lucrative contracts, such as building the bridge linking Saudi Arabia to Bahrain.

Fares created the holding company Wedge Group and opened Wedge Bank in Lebanon in 1983.

The Issam Fares Foundation was established in 1987.

4. Muhammad Safadi (current minister of finance and deputy to the Parliament) hails from a Tripoli established trading family. He migrated to Saudi Arabia in 1975.

Safadi established close relations with the head of Saudi air force Prince Turk al Nasr. He became rich building residential compounds.

In 2000, Safadi was elected deputy and also instituted the Safadi Foundation that offers health, educational, and social services in Tripoli.

Consequently, as a new wealthy Contractor who struck gold in Saudi Arabia, he allied with the March 14 movement against Syria occupation of Lebanon, after the assassination of Rafik Hariri. Seniora PM appointed Safadi minister of public work in 2005.

In 2008, Mikati PM extended to Safadi he portfolio of minister of economy and trade, and then minister of finance in 2011.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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