Married Lebanese Prime Minister Gifts $16 Million To Bikini Model
Court reports have revealed that the married Lebanese Prime Minister has gifted over to a 26-year-old South African bikini model.
Saad Hariri, 49, met Candice van der Merwe in a luxury Seychelles resort about six years ago when she was 20 - in the first year of their relationship, in 2013, the father-of-three had sent her nearly $15.3 million by bank transfer.
He also gifted her two cars worth $250,000, including a new convertible Audi R8 Spyder and a Land Rover Evoque - all of which she put as non-taxable due to them being gifts. South African authorities then began to investigate her and deemed the money as taxable income. Hariri then sent her a further million for living expenses as her assets were frozen, and also to help pay for legal fees.
According to The New York Times, she had said at the time that the money was for buying property - she had sent an email to Hariri with her bank details on and signed it 'love you my Saad :)'.
At the age of 19, she had been scouted to attend an exclusive resort in the Seychelles called The Plantation Club. According to court reports it was 'frequented by some of the richest private individuals in the world', with many of the guests being billionaires for whom 'money is no object'.
The affidavit stated: "This type of resort is the playground of the super wealthy where they can relax in total privacy away from the intrusions that normally accompany their lifestyles such as paparazzi and constant security threats due to their extreme wealth and status.
"It often poses a security risk should it be public knowledge that a specific high profile individual is at a specific location. It is the norm for lavish parties and events to be held at the resort.
"Such parties and events will often feature celebrity entertainers or disc jockeys with international acclaim. Models from only the trusted agencies are routinely flown in from all over the world to lend a sense of glamour and exclusivity to these events and by definition the resort."
She said that during her trip she got on well with those that she met.
She added: "While I cannot be certain as to the reasons for this, I suspect that it included the following factors: I have a very healthy lifestyle and I do not smoke at all or drink alcohol other than in negligible quantities on social occasions and I follow a strict exercise regime.
"I have also been told that I have a very engaging personality."
The funds are all said to have come from an inheritance that Hariri received following his father's death in 2005, and not state money - the relationship has only been exposed as a result of her tax case.
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