KUALA LUMPUR: Lebanese businessman Dr Elie Youssef Najem, who announced he was making a US$275mil (RM1.04bil) donation for cancer research, has landed himself in an unwanted spotlight.  The 45-year-old self-professed billionaire came out in defence of himself following allegations made against him. 

He showed bank statements which showed account balances running into hundreds of millions in US dollars, sales documents of him buying seven luxury cars, and various business contracts totalling about US$13bil (RM49.4bil). 

“I am hurt and angry at all these allegations,” he said when asked about the cynicism from some sections of Malaysians about him. 

Dr Elie, who said he suffered from cancer, added he lived in a modest three-bedroom condominium due to safety reasons as he had been kidnapped twice. 

“Why would I want to get kidnapped again?” he asked, saying there had also been three attempts on his life. 

During the three-hour interview, there were two bodyguards in his apartment. They were dressed in suits and armed with a pistol each. Another 15 uniformed security personnel stood outside his home. 

Dr Elie said the only court case he had been involved in since coming to Malaysia was with a business partner. 

“The argument is clearly a civil dispute and is only a contractual problem involving the both of us,” he said, adding that he had 95 companies registered in Malaysia. 

He also alleged that he had been the victim of a set-up involving some disgruntled former employees. 

“I had hired four women workers when I came to Malaysia but when they found out I was getting married to Farinnie (Farid) they all resigned on the spot,” he said, adding that his 19-year-old Malaysian wife is now three months pregnant. 

“They then lodged a report against me for not paying their salaries,” he said. 

Dr Elie alleged he was kept in the police station overnight last September. 

“When I was released the next day, I settled the payments immediately, but was subsequently re-arrested by the police,” he added.