Kessler, Ronald. The Richest Man in the World: The Story of Adnan Khashoggi.
New York: Warner Books, 1986. 274 pages.
One example of wretched excess in the twentieth century is wheeler-
dealer Adnan Khashoggi. He liked to throw extravagant parties for beautiful
people and classy prostitutes at one of his twelve fully-staffed residences,
on his $70 million yacht, or on one of his three commercial-size airplanes.
His wealth, estimated at $4 billion in 1986, came from hefty commissions for
arranging deals between U.S. defense contractors and the Saudi royal family.
For years our mass media favored him with fawning reports on his lifestyle.
Author Ronald Kessler does some of this, but fortunately this book is
redeemed with a significant amount of investigative material.
Kessler wrote this at the peak of Khashoggi's career. Soon Khashoggi
found himself in the middle of the Iran-contra scandal because of his work
with Manucher Ghorbanifar in setting up several of the arms-for-hostages
deals. Some of these deals were connected with BCCI, where Khashoggi was a
major client. In 1988 he and Imelda Marcos were indicted in Manhattan for
helping her late husband hide assets that belonged to the Philippine people.
Khashoggi was arrested in Switzerland and extradited, but he and Imelda were
acquitted in 1990. At last report (March 1992), Khashoggi sold his yacht and
creditors impounded his jet. He lives mostly in Spain, is still fighting his
legal battles, and was down to his last $54 million.
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