Pandora necklace

King Abdullah owns 100 million hidden properties

Since his accession to the throne, he has purchased luxury homes in California, London and Washington. A network of companies located in tax havens concealed real estate transactions. Lawyers defend legality and deprive us of public money. Fears of further escalation of protests in the Hashemite kingdom.

Amman (AsiaNews) – Luxury residences in California and London, purchased through offshore properties for a total value of approximately 100 million euros. The King of Jordan, Abdullah II, is also on the long list of 35 heads (or former) heads of government and 400 senior officials, in addition to celebrities scattered in 100 countries, who over the years have accumulated large sums of money. ‘money or assets through investments and businesses in tax havens.

The Hashemite monarch joins former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, President of Chile Sebastián Piñera, President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and a woman “close” to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The “Pandora papers” investigation, which is not unlike that of the “Panama Papers” of 2016, is the result of a long process of research and analysis of documents by investigative journalists of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (Icij), which led, in these hours, to the publication of the first articles.

In the documents – over 11.9 million tax and financial reports, totaling 2.9 terabytes (TB) of data – released so far, nearly 100 billionaires and around 30,000 offshore accounts emerge. ; the analysis is only for bank accounts, excluding other real estate, jewelry and other valuables.

As for the Jordanian monarch, the documents reveal a network of businesses attributable to King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein and used to purchase 15 luxury homes since he came to power in 1999. They include properties in Malibu, United States. United, London and Ascot in the United Kingdom.

The lawyers pointed out in a note that the purchases were made without breaking any laws and, most importantly, without using public funds. However, the case will certainly not help calm the spirits of a population that has taken to the streets several times in the recent past against poverty and corruption, and ultimately attack not only the government and the prime minister, but the monarchical institution itself and the king.

In recent years, Jordan, also thanks to the solid relations between the king and the West, of which it is an ally in a Middle Eastern zone of precarious balance, has received substantial international aid, notably from the United States and from the United Kingdom.

In 2019, the London government prepared a five-year aid plan of around € 760 million for the Hashemite kingdom. In addition, Abdullah is accused of building his fortune between 2003 and 2017 while at home, fueling an authoritarian regime that has cracked down on popular protests, imposed austerity and raised taxes. And in June 2020, he enacted a law to target citizens who send money overseas.

Among the disputed properties are at least four apartments in Georgetown, an affluent suburb of Washington, purchased between 2012 and 2016. An investment according to experts made to allow his son – and crown prince – Hussein to enjoy all the comforts during his years in ‘studies. at Georgetown University, attended in the same years.

There’s also a seven-room villa in Malibu, in a multi-millionaire neighborhood overlooking the Pacific where Anthony Hopkins, Julia Roberts, Simon Cowell, Gwyneth Paltrow and Barbra Streisand live (or have lived) to name a few – a few. the most famous. The property was purchased in 2014 by Nabisco Holdings SA, a British Virgin Islands company, for € 29 million.

The revelations in the newspapers risk fueling new protests against the top leaders of the Hashemite kingdom. A dissident, interviewed by the BBC, claims King Abdullah rules the nation from outside through “remote control”, while a former government official claims the monarch spends four to six months a year away from his country.

Annelle Sheline, an expert on the Middle East, adds that for a citizen struggling to provide for his family and who is out of work, knowing that the monarch has invested money abroad for a long time is a blow. for its image and credibility.