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Adnan Khashoggi (Arabic: عدنان خاشقجي‎; 25 July 1935 – 6 June 2017) was a Saudi Arabian billionaire international businessman, best known for his involvement in arms dealing. He is estimated to have had a peak net worth of around US$4 billion in the early 1980s.[1]

Adnan Khashoggi
Native name عدنان خاشقجي
Born (1935-07-25)25 July 1935
Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Died 6 June 2017(2017-06-06) (aged 81)
St Thomas' Hospital, London, England
Nationality Saudi Arabia
Occupation International businessman
Spouse(s) Soraya Khashoggi
Lamia Khashoggi
Children 6
Parent(s) Muhammad Khashoggi
Relatives Samira Khashoggi (sister)
Soheir Khashoggi (sister)
Dodi Fayed (nephew)
Mohamed Al-Fayed (brother-in-law)


Family and educationEdit

Khashoggi was born in Mecca, the son of Muhammad Khashoggi, who was King Abdul Aziz Al Saud's personal doctor.[2] His family is of Turkish origin.[3] Adnan Khashoggi's sister was author Samira Khashoggi who married businessman Mohamed Al-Fayed and was the mother of Dodi Fayed.[4] Another sister, Soheir Khashoggi, is a well-known Arab writer (Mirage, Nadia's Song, Mosaic).[4]

Khashoggi was educated at Victoria College in Alexandria, Egypt,[2] and the American universities California State University, Chico, Ohio State, and Stanford. Khashoggi left his studies in order to seek his fortune in business.[5]

Business careerEdit

Khashoggi headed a company called Triad Holding Company, which among other things built the Triad Center in Salt Lake City, which later went bankrupt.[6] He was famed as an arms dealer, brokering deals between US firms and the Saudi government, most actively in the 1960s and 1970s. In the documentary series The Mayfair Set, Saudi author Said Aburish states that one of Khashoggi's first weapons deals was providing David Stirling with weapons for a covert mission in Yemen during the Aden Emergency in 1963. Among his overseas clients were defense contractors Lockheed Corporation (now Lockheed Martin Corporation), Raytheon, Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation and Northrop Corporation (the last two of which have now merged into Northrop Grumman).[7]

Between 1970 and 1975, Lockheed paid Khashoggi $106 million in commissions. His commissions started at 2.5% and eventually rose to as much as 15%. Khashoggi "became for all practical purposes a marketing arm of Lockheed. Khashoggi would provide not only an entrée but strategy, constant advice, and analysis", according to Max Helzel, then vice president of Lockheed's international marketing.[8]

A shrewd businessman, he established companies in Switzerland and Liechtenstein to handle his commissions as well as developing contacts with notables such as CIA officers James H. Critchfield and Kim Roosevelt and United States businessman Bebe Rebozo, a close associate of U.S. President Richard Nixon. His yacht, the Nabila, was the largest in the world at the time and was used in the James Bond film Never Say Never Again. After Khashoggi ran into financial problems he sold the yacht to the Sultan of Brunei, who in turn sold it for $29 million to Donald Trump, who sold it for $20 million[9] to Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal as part of a deal to keep his Taj Mahal casino out of bankruptcy.[10]

Iran–Contra affairEdit

Khashoggi was implicated in the Iran–Contra affair as a key middleman in the arms-for-hostages exchange along with Iranian arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar and, in a complex series of events, was found to have borrowed money for these arms purchases from the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) with Saudi and United States backing.[7] His role in the affair created a related controversy when Khashoggi donated millions to the American University in Washington, DC to build a sports arena which would bear his name.[11] Khashoggi was a member of the university's board of trustees from 1983 until his indictment on fraud and other charges in May 1989.[12]

Imelda Marcos affairEdit

In 1988, Khashoggi was arrested in Switzerland, accused of concealing funds, and held for three months. Khashoggi stopped fighting extradition when the U.S. prosecutors reduced the charges to obstruction of justice and mail fraud and dropped the more serious charges of racketeering and conspiracy. In 1990, a United States federal jury in Manhattan acquitted Khashoggi and Imelda Marcos, widow of the exiled Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, of racketeering and fraud.[13][14]

After DarkEdit

Appearing on After Dark in 1991

In 1991 Khashoggi appeared on the Channel 4 live discussion programme After Dark, alongside among others Edward Heath and Lord Weidenfeld.[15]

Genesis IntermediaEdit

Khashoggi, along with Ramy El-Batrawi, was the principal financier behind Genesis Intermedia, Inc. (formerly NASDAQ: GENI), a publicly traded Internet company based in the US. In 2006, El-Batrawi and Kashoggi were sued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for securities fraud.[16] The case was settled in 2008; both men did not admit or deny the allegations.[17]

Seymour Hersh reportEdit

In January 2003, Seymour Hersh reported in The New Yorker magazine that former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle had a meeting with Khashoggi in Marseille in order to use him as a conduit between Trireme Partners, a private venture capital company of which he was one of three principals, and the Saudi government.[18] At the time, Perle was chair of the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee, a Defense Department advisory group, which provided him with access to classified information and a position to influence defense policy.[18]

Khashoggi told Hersh that Perle talked to him about the economic costs regarding a proposed invasion of Iraq. "'If there is no war,' he told me, 'why is there a need for security? If there is a war, of course, billions of dollars will have to be spent.'"[19]

Personal lifeEdit

In the 1960s, Khashoggi married 20-year-old Englishwoman Sandra Daly (Sandra Patricia Jarvis-Daly) who converted to Islam and took the name Soraya Khashoggi.[20] They raised one daughter (Nabila, who attended Millfield School in England and whose son is the pianist and composer Thorvald Spartan von Daggenhurst)[21] and four sons together (Mohammed, Khalid, Hussein, and Omar).[22] Soraya gave birth to another daughter, Petrina Khashoggi , born seven years after her divorce from Khashoggi, whose biological father is Jonathan Aitken.[citation needed]

His second wife, the Italian Laura Biancolini, also converted to Islam and changed her name to Lamia Khashoggi. She was seventeen when she met Adnan and gave him another son, Ali, in 1980.[22]

In the 1980s, the Khashoggi family occupied one of the largest villa estates in Marbella, Spain, called Baraka, hosting lavish parties.[citation needed] Guests at these parties included film stars, pop celebrities and politicians.[23] In 1985, celebrity reporter Robin Leach reported Khashoggi threw a five-day birthday party in Vienna for his eldest son,[24] and in his heyday, Khashoggi spent $250,000 a day to maintain his lifestyle.[25]

Khashoggi also owned Ol Pejeta Conservancy, in Laikipia County, Kenya. His house has since been converted into a hotel which is run by Serena Hotels.[26]

Khashoggi died peacefully on 6 June 2017[27][28] while being treated for Parkinson's disease at St Thomas' Hospital in London. He was 81.[29]

In popular cultureEdit


  1. ^ David Leigh and Rob Evans (7 June 2007). "Biography: Adnan Khashoggi". The Guardian. London: Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 29 January 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "About the Bin Laden family". PBS. Retrieved 26 February 2013. 
  3. ^ "Adnan Khashoggi Net Worth". 25 July 1935. Retrieved 6 June 2017. 
  4. ^ a b Ponton, Rebecca. "Soheir Khashoggi: Success Is No Mirage". Woman Abroad Magazine. Sept/Oct 2001 (7). Retrieved 7 June 2017. 
  5. ^ Sidhu, Jatswan S. (2009). Historical Dictionary of Brunei Darussalam (2, illustrated ed.). Scarecrow Press. p. 123. ISBN 9780810870789. 
  6. ^ "Utah Company of Khashoggi Goes Bankrupt". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. 29 January 1987. Retrieved 7 June 2017. 
  7. ^ a b Kinzer, Stephen (6 June 2017). "Adnan Khashoggi, High-Living Saudi Arms Trader, Dies at 81". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 June 2017. 
  8. ^ Stengel, Richard (19 January 1987). "Cover Stories: Khashoggi's High-Flying Realm". Time. p. 5. Archived from the original on 19 September 2008. Retrieved 25 August 2008. 
  9. ^ Roberts, Roxanne (9 October 2015). "Inside the fabulous world of Donald Trump, where money is no problem". The Washington Post. Retrieved 16 August 2016. 
  10. ^ KING, WAYNE (18 April 1991). "Fiscal Riddle Confronts Casino Panel". New York Times. Retrieved 8 April 2016. 
  11. ^ Isikoff, Michael; Isikoff, Michael (11 January 1987). "AMERICAN U. DONATION STIRS DEBATE". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 12 June 2017. 
  12. ^ CHRISTENSEN, DEBORAH (5 May 1989). "In Arresting Move, School's Board Drops Khashoggi". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 7 June 2017. 
  13. ^ "Imelda Marcos Acquitted : Cleared of Looting Philippines to Buy N.Y. Skyscrapers : Khashoggi Also Freed in Blow to Justice Dept". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. 2 July 1990. 
  14. ^ Yuenger, James (20 July 1989). "Arms Dealer Goes From Riches To Jail". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 8 April 2016. 
  15. ^ Website of production company Open Media
  16. ^ Bloomberg News in the New York Times. 14 April 2006 S.E.C. Accuses Saudi Financier and Executive of Stock Fraud
  17. ^ Edvard Pettersson for Bloomberg news. 1 April 2010 Saudi Financier Khashoggi Settles SEC's GenesisIntermedia Case
  18. ^ a b Baer, Robert (2003). Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude. Crown/Archetype. p. 138. ISBN 9781400053377. 
  19. ^ The New Yorker: Lunch With The Chairman. 17 March 2003.
  20. ^ "Former billionaire's wife Soraya Khasgoggi's modest life as a flower-seller". Daily Mail. London. 19 January 2007. 
  21. ^ "Heiress who casts herself as a struggling actress". The Telegraph. 21 September 1996. Retrieved 8 June 2017. 
  22. ^ a b Dominick Dunne. Khashoggi's Fall, Vanity Fair, September 1989; Retrieved 11 February 2012
  23. ^ Pierre Trudeau, en casa de Khashoggui, La Vanguardia, 6 August 1986; Retrieved 11 February 2012
  24. ^ Salmans, Sandra (22 February 1985). "Lavish Lifestyle Of a Wheeler-Dealer". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 December 2011. Khashoggi's retreat at Marbella in southern Spain, an entire mountain with seven villas, a 1,300-acre hunting preserve and what we are told is the world's largest outdoor marble disco floor. We are led through his New York duplex, a $25 million apartment in the Olympic Tower on Fifth Ave. 
  25. ^ "Chasing debtors: Cash-strapped Khashoggi?". The Economist. 25 May 2013. 
  26. ^ Mwongela, Ferdinand (21 July 2011). "Ol Pejeta House: Khashoggi's decadent hideout". Standard Digital. Retrieved 7 June 2017. 
  27. ^ "Saudi businessman Khashoggi, 'Onassis of the Arab world,' dies". Muslim Global. Retrieved 8 June 2017. 
  28. ^ "Morto il miliardario Khashoggi: icona di lusso e ricchezza negli anni '80 – Rai News". 27 November 2013. Retrieved 6 June 2017. 
  29. ^ "Saudi businessman Khashoggi, 'Onassis of the Arab world,' dies". Arab News. Retrieved 7 June 2017. 
  30. ^ "Moving documentary embodies Hank Greenspun, a Las Vegas character". Las Vegas Review Journal. 28 March 2008. Retrieved 7 June 2017. 
  31. ^ "The One Percent". 
  32. ^ Murphy, Brian (6 June 2017). "Adnan Khashoggi, Saudi arms merchant and world-class playboy, dies". The Washington Post. Retrieved 7 June 2017. 
  33. ^ Marozzi, Justin (1 November 2011). "The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade by Andrew Feinstein: review". The Telegraph. Retrieved 7 June 2017. 
  34. ^ "Saudi Arms Dealer Adnan Khashoggi Dead at 81". VOA News. 6 June 2017. Retrieved 7 June 2017. 

Further readingEdit

  • Kessler, Ronald. The Richest Man in the World: The Story of Adnan Khashoggi, Warner Books, New York, 1986
  • Mackey, Sandra. The Saudis: Inside the Desert Kingdom. Updated Edition. Norton Paperback. W. W. Norton and Company, New York. 2002 (first edition: 1987). ISBN 0-393-32417-6

External linksEdit