Adnan Khashoggi (Arabic: عدنان خاشقجي, Turkish: Adnan Kaşıkçı; b. July 25, 1935, Mecca, Saudi Arabia – d. June 6, 2017, London, England) 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.
Khashoggi was born in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the son of Muhammad Khashoggi, who was King Abdul Aziz Al Saud's personal doctor. His family is of Turkish origin. Adnan Khashoggi's sister was author Samira Khashoggi Fayed who married businessman Mohamed Al-Fayed and was the mother of Dodi Fayed. Another sister, Soheir Khashoggi, is a well-known Arab writer (Mirage, Nadia's Song, Mosaic).
Khashoggi was educated at Victoria College in Alexandria, Egypt, and the American university, California State University, Chico; Ohio State University; and Stanford University. Barely a year after arriving at Chico State, at 21, he brokered his first major deal, the sale of $3 million worth of trucks to Egypt. His commission was $150,000. He never returned for his college degree.
Khashoggi headed a company called Triad Holding Company, which among other things built the Triad Center in Salt Lake City, which later went bankrupt. He was famed as an arms dealer, brokering deals between United States firms and the Saudi government, most actively in the 1960s and 1970s. One of Adnan'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 (which have now merged into Northrop Grumman).
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.
A shrewd businessman, Khashoggi established companies in Switzerland and Liechtenstein to handle his commissions as well as developing contacts with notables such as Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officers James H. Critchfield and Kim Roosevelt and United States businessman Bebe Rebozo, a close associate of United States President Richard Nixon. His yacht, the Nabila (named after his daughter), 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 to Donald Trump for $29 million, who later sold it for $20 million to Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal as part of a deal to keep his Taj Mahal casino out of bankruptcy.
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. His role in the affair created a related controversy when Khashoggi donated millions to American University in Washington, D. C. to build a sports arena which would bear his name. Khashoggi was a member of the university's board of trustees from 1983 until his indictment on fraud and other charges in May, 1989.
In 1988, Khashoggi was arrested in Switzerland, accused of concealing funds, and held for three months. Khashoggi stopped fighting extradition when the United States 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.
Khashoggi, along with Ramy El-Batrawi, was the principal financier behind Genesis Intermedia, Inc., a publicly traded Internet company based in the United States. In 2006, El-Batrawi and Kashoggi were sued by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission for securities fraud. The case was settled in 2008; both men did not admit or deny the allegations.
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. They raised one daughter (Nabila, who attended Millfield School in England and whose son is the pianist and composer Thorvald Spartan von Daggenhurst) and four sons together (Mohammed, Khalid, Hussein, and Omar). Soraya and Khashoggi divorced in 1974. Five years later, a judge ordered Khashoggi to pay Soraya $875 million, the largest-ever divorce settlement at the time.
Khashoggi's 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.
In the 1980s, the Khashoggi family occupied one of the largest villa estates in Marbella, Spain, called Baraka, hosting lavish parties usually arranged by Robert Young, a local club owner. Guests at these parties included film stars, pop celebrities and politicians including Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. In 1985, celebrity reporter Robin Leach reported Khashoggi threw a five-day birthday party in Vienna for his eldest son, and in his heyday, Khashoggi spent $250,000 a day to maintain his lifestyle.
Khashoggi also owned Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Laikipia, Kenya. His house has since been converted into a hotel which is run by Serena Hotels.
Khashoggi died peacefully on June 6, 2017 while being treated for Parkinson's disease at St. Thomas' Hospital in London, England. He was 81 years old.