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FB Roundup: François Louis Nicolas Pinault, Najib Mikati, Taylor Swift

FB Roundup: François Louis Nicolas Pinault, Najib Mikati, Taylor Swift
In this week’s FB Roundup, François Pinault’s grandson replaces him on Christie’s board; Lebanon's billionaire prime minister denies allegations of money laundering in France; and Taylor Swift enters the Forbes World's Billionaires List for the first time.
By Glen Ferris
François Louis Nicolas Pinault
François Louis Nicolas Pinault

François Pinault’s grandson replaces him on Christie’s board
Francois Pinault, the patriarch of one of France’s richest families, has announced that his grandchild has replaced him on the board of Christie’s auction house.

Bloomberg reports that 26-year-old Francois Louis Nicolas Pinault became a director of the London-based art dealer on March 26, according to a filing published this week. 

He replaces his 87-year-old grandfather, Francois Pinault, who founded what became fashion conglomerate Kering SA and is now run by son, Francois-Henri. 

“The unexpected ascension of the next-generation Pinault - whose occupation is listed as ‘product marketing manager’ - to the Christie’s board comes amid a difficult period for the clan’s biggest business,” says Bloomberg. “A slump in sales at Kering’s main brand, Gucci, has led to a steep decline in the company’s market value and shaken investor confidence. The fashion group has been trying to revitalise the Italian label that accounts for about two-thirds of its profit, so far without success.”

Francois Pinault, who has a net worth of $32 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, has slowly been handing operational duties over to other family members during the past few decades, with his eldest son, the 61-year-old Francois-Henri, focused on running the family’s multinational luxury group, while his two other children, Dominique and Laurence Pinault, oversee the Artemis supervisory board.

According to The Financial Times, Francois Louis Nicolas Pinault is also listed in a filing as being a director along with other family members of the Pinault Collection, which oversees some 10,000 modern and contemporary artworks, according to its website. 

Najib Mikati
Najib Mikati

Lebanon's billionaire prime minister denies allegations of money laundering in France
Najib Mikati, the billionaire caretaker prime minister of Lebanon, has been the subject of money laundering allegations levelled against him by two anti-corruption groups in France.

The complaint, which Najib Mikati denies, was formally filed with France’s National Financial Prosecutor’s office by French anti-corruption non-governmental organisation Sherpa and the Collective of Victims of Fraudulent and Criminal Practices. 

As reported by AP News, “Sherpa said the objective is to ‘shed light on the conditions under which Lebanese political figures like Najib Mikati accumulated considerable wealth and on the role of financial intermediaries who facilitated these acquisitions.’

“The group said it drew the attention of French prosecutors to the conditions under which Mikati ‘has accumulated significant assets in France. The complaint also questions the origin of the funds that transited through the French banking system.’

In a statement, Mikati, whose older brother Taha Mikati founded the Arabian Construction Company (ACC), which became one of the largest construction companies in the Middle East, said that he and members of his family have always acted in accordance with the law. He defended the family’s “integrity” and said its business is characterised by “complete transparency.”

The 68-year-old Mikati has served as Lebanon’s prime minister since 2021. He founded the telecommunications company Investcom with his brother Taha in the 1980s and sold it in 2006 to South Africa’s MTN Group for $5.5 billion.

Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift enters the Forbes World's Billionaires List for the first time
American pop star Taylor Swift has entered the Forbes World's Billionaires List for the first time with an estimated net worth of $1.1 billion.

The singer is joined by other new entrees, including Sam Altman, the creator of ChatGPT with a net worth of $1 billion, and basketball legend Magic Johnson and TV producer Dick Wolf, both with a net worth of $1.2 billion.

Topping the list is LVMH French luxury goods titan Bernard Arnault and his family with an estimated $233 billion net worth.

Forbes’ annual report is said to be the biggest ever, with a record 2,781 billionaires for 2024. According to the BBC, “the figure is 141 more than last year and 26 more than the previous record set in 2021.”

Chase Peterson-Withorn, senior editor on wealth for Forbes, said it had been an “amazing” year for the world’s richest people.

“A record-breaking 14 centi-billionaires have 12-figure fortunes. Even during times of financial uncertainty for many, the super-rich continue to thrive,” he said.

On releasing the list, Forbes added that “the class of billionaires for 2024 were 255% richer than a decade ago, now worth $2 trillion in all, meaning just 0.5% of the world’s 2,781 billionaires hold 14% of all billionaire wealth.”

Geographically, the US still has more billionaires than any other country, with a record 813 on the list. China remains second, followed by India.

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