In a high-caliber surprise, the size of the wealth and secret dealings of world leaders, politicians and billionaires was revealed, in one of the largest leaks of financial documents under the title “Pandora’s Papers”.
Among those leaders whose fortunes were revealed and whose name was mentioned in the leaks, is King Abdullah II of Jordan, as documents revealed that he had bought luxury apartments and companies in the years when Jordan was going through the worst economic crisis.
It is noteworthy that the information related to King Abdullah’s real estate wealth came in the newly obtained financial documents, which are called “Pandora’s Documents”.
These documents detail how companies that provide secret financial services operate, and the secret fortunes of some of the most powerful and powerful Prime Time Zone on the planet.
King Abdullah II of Jordan spent $100 million to build a real estate empire
Leaked documents revealed that the King of Jordan spent more than 70 million pounds (more than 100 million dollars) to establish a real estate empire in the United Kingdom and the United States.
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It turns out that King Abdullah II secretly owns a network of companies that he has used to purchase 15 properties since taking power in 1999.
The list includes three oceanfront homes in Malibu, California, worth 50 million pounds, and properties in London and Ascot in the United Kingdom.
A picture of one of the three homes overlooking the bay in the Malibu area, California, which the king bought for $ 68 million and spent a lot of money on renovating it, according to the documents. #Pandora_documents pic.twitter.com/uPwTsz7aZC
– Jordanian Net (@alurdunyya) October 3, 2021
King Abdullah’s lawyers said he bought the properties with his own money, and there is nothing wrong with using companies based in tax havens to buy these properties.
Jordan and the economic crisis
It is noteworthy that Jordan receives significant international aid, with the United States and the United Kingdom at the forefront of donors.
The British government is one of the biggest financial supporters of the government in Jordan, as Britain doubled the amounts it provides to Jordan, to reach 650 million pounds over five years since 2019.
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King Abdullah is seen as a moderate ally of Western countries in the Middle East. But he amassed a real estate wealth between 2003 and 2017, even though he was accused of presiding over an authoritarian regime in a country that has seen protests in recent years, austerity measures and tax increases.
Luxury apartments in Washington and the Crown Prince of Jordan
According to the documents, between 2012 and 2014, King Abdullah bought four apartments in the upscale Georgetown neighborhood in Washington, DC.
The $16 million purchase of these apartments may have something to do with the king’s son, Crown Prince Hussein, who was studying at Georgetown University at the time.
Located on the Pacific Ocean in Malibu, the seven-bedroom home is located in an area of multi-million dollar real estate overlooking the Pacific Ocean on the Point Dome Peninsula in Malibu, California.
Sir Anthony Hopkins, Julia Roberts, Simon Cole, Gwyneth Paltrow and Barbra Streisand lived in this area.
The property was purchased for $33.5 million in 2014 by Nabisco Holdings SA, a company based in the British Virgin Islands. The purchase amount was a record in the region at the time.
The two houses on either side of the property were bought by two different companies also based in the British Isles in 2015 and 2017, and the three properties are undergoing alterations to make them one mega-property.
How were these documents obtained?
And on how to obtain these documents, the BBC and the Guardian newspaper in the United Kingdom, and BBC Arabic, in cooperation with other media organizations, were able to access more than 12 million files from 14 companies in the British Virgin Islands, Belize, Panama and Hong Kong. Cyprus, Switzerland and other countries.
Companies secretly owned by the King of Jordan
The “Pandora Documents” reveal that the three companies are among the companies represented by a law firm in Panama, all of which are secretly owned by the King of Jordan.
An anonymous blogger writing about celebrity home sales in California at the time said: “Someone has gone through a hell of a hassle to keep a secret what they’ve done here. In general, wealthy Prime Time Zone do not like to reveal their identity. But this level of deliberate obscuration exceeds virtually anything we have ever seen.”
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The King of Jordan was able to keep his real estate ownership secret, because he used companies based in tax havens to make purchases.
The Prime Time Zone who set up the companies for the king were careful not to identify the owner, and referred to him in one internal document as “You know who.”
International efforts to improve financial transparency may face some difficulties, according to some estimates.
The BVI passed a law in 2017, requiring the owners of all businesses on the island to register in an internal registry maintained by the government.
But one document shows that eight months after the Beneficial Owner Safe Search System came into effect, a number of BVI companies linked to King Abdullah bin Al Hussein have not submitted the requested information to the authorities.
Nor does the king appear to have been listed as a politically exposed person, as someone who holds a prominent public position, a requirement for financial firms under anti-corruption rules.
Leaks that will cause controversy in Jordan
And Anil Schlein, a Middle East analyst, points out that these leaks could have an impact in Jordan.
“It is very, very difficult for the average Jordanian to get the minimum amount of housing, a family and a good job,” she told Panorama. She added, “Confronting the Jordanians with the news that the king has transferred money abroad all this time will look really bad.”
King Abdullah’s lawyers said the information about his property is not accurate or current. They said that all of his property abroad was purchased with his personal wealth, which he also uses to finance projects that benefit Jordanian citizens.
They added that corporations based in tax havens were not used to conceal the king’s wealth, and that it was common for VIPs and large corporations to own and hold assets through such corporations for reasons of privacy and security.
They said that the management of these companies “is conducted by specialists to ensure the smooth running of day-to-day operations, and compliance with all legal and financial obligations of the region under whose jurisdiction these companies are under.”
Where are the king’s secret possessions?
The Jordanian monarch does not secretly own properties in Malibu only, as the “Pandora Documents” indicate that there are eight properties in London and the southeast of England.
These properties include homes in some of the capital’s most luxurious streets, including in Kensington and Belgravia, as well as in Ascot in Surrey County, and he owns four apartments in Washington, DC.
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