International

Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi dies aged 82

Adnan Khashoggi at the wedding of Donald Trump and Marla Maples in New York in 1993.  

Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, a tycoon known for his lavish billionaire lifestyle and far-reaching international connections, has died in London at the age of 82, his family said on Tuesday.

“Our beloved father Adnan Khashoggi, aged 82, died peacefully today in London while being treated for Parkinson’s Disease,” they said in a statement. “He lived his last days... with the same elegance, strength and dignity that characterised his remarkable life.”

U.S.-educated Khashoggi brokered arms deals around the world, earning handsome commissions and operating in a shady business while partying with global elites. Among the many people he counted as friends was godman Chandraswami, who passed away last month. His visit to India in 1991, when he was hosted by then Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar in his private retreat in Bhondsi, Haryana, created quite a stir. During the visit, Khashoggi also called on Congress leader Rajiv Gandhi.

“Our father understood the art of bringing people together better than anyone,” Khashoggi’s family said, adding: “He celebrated life in the living of it, and always with an innate curiosity in others.”

Khashoggi was an uncle to Dodi Fayed, Princess Diana’s last love, since his sister was married to Mr. Fayed’s father Mohamed Al-Fayed. He was at one time estimated to be worth £2.4 billion but ran into financial difficulties and had to sell his private DC9 airliner and his yacht, Nabila.

Troubled life

In 1997, a Paris court ordered him to pay a $1.6 million fine for smuggling 37 paintings into France in 1986. Khashoggi brought in the paintings on his private jet on a flight from the U.S. to Nice.

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

The judge had heard that the Saudi businessman between January and April 1986 had gambled a total of £10 million.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2021 11:50:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/saudi-arms-dealer-adnan-khashoggi-dies-aged-82/article18733560.ece

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