Lebanon's generous billionaire

Fouad Makhzoumi, a Lebanese billionaire and former arms dealer, is at the centre of a political row in Britain after it emerged that one of his companies has donated £100,000 to the Conservative Party during the last four years.

But besides his support for the British Conservatives, he has also employed lobbyists in the United States.

In Lebanon, Makhzoumi runs the National Dialogue Partywhich has no parliamentary seats and has been described as a one-man show. A couple of years ago an article on the Now Lebanon website said:

According to reports filed with the US Secretary of the Senate, the National Dialogue Party paid just over $300,000 in 2006 to the top-tier Mississippi-based lobbying firm Barbour, Griffith & Rogers to “provide guidance and counsel with regard to foreign-policy matters before the US Government.” 

Furthermore, in 2004 and 2006, Future Pipe Industries Inc – a multimillion dollar company chaired by Makhzoumi – paid US Foreign Service Officer Cheryl Steele an undisclosed amount to lobby on its behalf, mostly for industry-related reasons, but also to advance “the Middle East peace process”.

The Angry Arab blog has some comments on the matter and also links to a document connected with the US lobbying.

Posted by Brian Whitaker, 25 December 2009.