Jordan King Exposed Over Tax Havens and Luxury Homes
By Staff, Agencies
Jordan’s King Abdullah II is among dozens of world leaders to have hidden millions of dollars in offshore tax havens and secretly bought luxury homes around the globe, according to an investigation published on Sunday.
The Pandora Papers probe involving some 600 journalists is based on the leak of some 11.9 million documents from 14 global financial services.
The documents show how King Abdullah II created a network of offshore companies and tax havens to amass a $100m property empire from Malibu, California to Washington, DC and London.
According to the investigation: “Three beachfront mansions in Malibu [were] purchased through three offshore companies for $68 million by the King of Jordan in the years after Jordanians filled the streets during Arab Spring to protest joblessness and corruption.”
Abdullah, 59, also owns three luxury apartments in a complex in Washington, DC with panoramic views of the Potomac River, and a house in Ascot, one of England’s most expensive towns, along with multimillion-dollar apartments in central London, the report said.
“Jordan doesn’t have the kind of money that other Middle Eastern monarchies, like Saudi Arabia, have to allow a king to flaunt his wealth,” Annelle Sheline, a Middle East scholar, was quoted as saying.
“If the Jordanian monarch were to display his wealth more publicly, it wouldn’t only antagonize his people, it would p**s off Western donors who have given him money.”
King Abdullah’s lawyers were cited saying all the properties were bought with personal wealth, and it was common practice for high-profile individuals to buy properties via offshore companies for privacy and security reasons.
“Any implication that there is something improper about ownership of property through companies in offshore jurisdictions is categorically denied,” said DLA Piper, the law firm that represents the monarch.
“[Abdullah] has not at any point misused public monies or made any use whatsoever of the proceeds of aid or assistance intended for public use.”
Some 35 current and former leaders are featured in the documents analyzed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists [ICIJ] – facing allegations ranging from corruption to money laundering and global tax avoidance.
The documents also show Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis – facing an election later this week – failed to declare an offshore investment company used to buy a chateau worth $22m in the south of France.
In total, the ICIJ found links between almost 1,000 companies in offshore havens and 336 high-level politicians and public officials, including country leaders, cabinet ministers, ambassadors and others.