Adnan Khashoggi: Saudi billionaire arms dealer dies at 82

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Adnan Khashoggi and his wife Lamia at an Aids research fundraising event in 2005

Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, a billionaire businessman known for his lavish lifestyle, has died in London at the age of 82.

His family said in statement that he died peacefully while being treated for Parkinson’s disease.

Mr Khashoggi became one of the world’s richest men in the 1970s and ’80s by brokering international arms deals.

His parties were legendary, often lasting for days, but there was also controversy about his business.

A statement from the family on Tuesday said: “He lived his last days surrounded by his devoted family, children and grandchildren, with the same elegance, strength and dignity that characterised his remarkable life. He is survived by his wife Lamia.

“AK was a pioneer who achieved global recognition in a golden age through his extraordinary business achievements and renowned generosity. Our father understood the art of bringing people together better than anyone.

“He combined commercial acumen with an over-riding loyalty to his country, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. His work always furthered the interests of his country.”

He most famously brokered arms deals between US firms and Saudi Arabia in the 1960s and ’70s, when he worked closely with the Lockheed Corporation, now Lockheed Martin.

Later, Mr Khashoggi represented France in its race against the UK to secure the initial $20bn al-Yamamah weapons-for-oil deal with the Saudis – a contract that still runs today.
The nature of his business meant that their was always controversy, and in 1987 he appeared on the front cover of Time magazine under the headline: “Those Shadowy Arms Traders: Adnan Khashoggi’s High Life and Flashy Deals”.
Donald Trump

He spent time in a Swiss prison in the 1980s – where he reportedly dined on gourmet food from the Schweizerhof Hotel – fighting extradition to the US after being accused of helping to conceal funds on behalf of former Philippines president Ferdinand Marcos and his shoe-loving wife, Imelda.

The charges were reduced, and he and Mrs Marcos were eventually acquitted.

Mr Khashoggi once owned one of the world’s largest yacht, the 86-metre Nabila, which appeared in the James Bond film Never Say Never Again.

When his business empire ran into financial difficulty, he handed the yacht to the Sultan of Brunei who sold it on to Donald Trump, now president of the US, for a reported $29m in the 1980s.

In 1997, a Paris court ordered him to pay a $1.6m fine for smuggling 37 paintings into France in 1986, bought in from the US on his private jet.

And in 1998, the casino at London’s Ritz Hotel settled out of court its lawsuit against Mr Khashoggi for £8m of gambling debts.

The businessman, whose late sister Samira was married to former Harrods chief Mohamed Al Fayed, was an uncle of Princess Diana’s final love, Dodi Fayed.

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