Financier Adnan Khashoggi, who parlayed his ties to Saudi Arabia's royal family into a colossal fortune, is now being described as "the great un-billionaire."
Most of his U.S. operations are in bankruptcy proceedings, he is the target of more than 50 lawsuits, he was a middle man in the Iran arms scandal, and on Friday, he was indicted for allegedly helping former President Ferdinand Marcos embezzle money from the Philippines.Khashoggi, 51, has denied any wrongdoing.
The Saudi invested heavily in Utah at one time, building the Triad Center and the Salt Lake International Center. Offices for Triad Utah and Triad America are also located in Utah.
All of Khashoggi's Utah interests are in bankruptcy. His creditors include several Utah banks and companies whose losses total tens of millions of dollars.
Khashoggi amassed a fortune estimated at up to $2 billion by playing a familiar role - middle man - in the transfer of Western weapons and technology to Arab oil states.
He has gold-woven wallpaper, a fleet of personal planes, a $70-million yacht and luxury homes around the globe, including an estate in Marbella, Spain, that has 60 servants. He spends at least $3 million a year on jet fuel.
But huge cracks have appeared in his empire.
His role in the Iran arms deal created a storm of controversy, and on Friday he was accused of conspiring with Marcos to violate a court order barring the transfer of properties owned by the deposed Philippine president.
According to the indictment, a Marcos associate backdated a deed to falsely show that Khashoggi assumed ownership of some New York office buildings Marcos owned.
The document also said that Marcos transferred some of his artwork to Khashoggi after Marcos arrived in Hawaii following his ouster in 1986. Khashoggi later offered much of the artwork for sale from his yacht.
After legal proceedings in Europe, U.S. agents took custody of millionsof dollars' worth of masterpieces that Khashoggi had kept and shipped them from Paristo the United States, for use in the case against Marcos.
Khashoggi once said: "I don't think there is any great blessing in wealth for the sake of wealth," and an associate described him as "the great un-billionaire."
Khashoggi, the son of the personal physician to the late King Ibn Saud, was educated in Egypt at the elite Victoria College in Alexandria, where he became friends with Jordan's King Hussein.
He went on to the United States to Chico State University near San Francisco and then Stanford University. But he was more attuned to business activities than studies and dropped out of Stanford after one semester.
In his early 20s he put together his first major deal for the Saudi royal family, arranging the sale of heavy-duty U.S. trucks and pocketing $245,000 in commission.
Khashoggi returned to Saudi Arabia to represent Rolls Royce and Marconi. He was hired by Lockheed in 1964 to act as middle man for its sale of Hercules transport planes to Saudi Arabia.
He became involved with Northrop's sales to the kingdom in 1970. Soon afterward, large commissions on arms deals came under official scrutiny in the United States.
Khashoggi also promoted oil, real estate, and agricultural and industrial ventures in developing nations.
His financial empire, consisting of several multi-national companies which he controls with his two younger brothers, is administered through the Triad holding company, which is based in Riyadh.
Last year, he gave a public account of his role in the shipment of American weapons to Iran, an operation that caused President Reagan's worst political crisis.
He said in a television interview he wrote to former National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane offering to put him in contact with Iranian moderates in an effort to end the Persian Gulf war with Iraq.
He said he advanced $1 million from his personal account to an Iranian arms merchant "to get the deal going."