Adnan Khashoggi and the Arms Trade

On July 25 in the year 1935, one of the most controversial businessmen the world had ever known was born in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. His name was Adnan Khashoggi, the flamboyant arms trader who counted presidents, tycoons, and celebrities as his friends.

Adnan Khashoggi
Adnan Khashoggi (Credit:

Adnan Khashoggi was the eldest son of the personal doctor of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdul Aziz Al Saud and also of Bin Laden. He studied in the most elite school in Egypt as well as in three colleges in the US which included Stanford University but he did not finish a course.

Initially, Adnan engaged in importing heavy equipment into Saudi Arabia. In the 1960s and 1970s, he became active in brokering the sale of armament from western companies to Arab countries especially Saudi Arabia. He once headed a company known as Triad Holdings which later on went bankrupt.

Adnan’s commission from the arms trade allowed him to established companies in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. He then started to buy at least 12 palatial homes in different countries and 1,000 suits of different luxurious brands. He travelled in his own customized airplane and partied extravagantly with famous celebrities and political leaders including former President Marcos of the Philippines and his wife Imelda.

Adnan Khashoggi was involved in several high profile controversies including the Iran-Contra affairs and the racketeering charges against Imelda for which he was arrested in 1988. Although none of the charges against him were proven, his influence was drastically diminished in the 1990s onward.

Adnan died of Parkinson’s disease in June 6, 2017 at the age of 81. He married twice and had 6 children.


Any comment?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.