More "Six Degrees of Adnan Khashoggi"

Gossip, speculation, and scuttlebutt about politics.
Nov. 14 2001 6:31 PM

"Six Degrees of Adnan Khashoggi," Part 4

The 9/11 edition.

As Chatterbox previously noted (here, here, and here), Adnan Khashoggi is connected to every shocking event that has occurred since 1960, usually by no more than one or two degrees. A partial list would include Iran-Contra, Wedtech, BCCI, the Marcos Philippine kleptocracy, the Synfuels fiasco, and the discovery of buried mustard gas in the pricy Spring Valley neighborhood of Washington, D.C. To these we must now add the tragic events of Sept. 11.

As always, Chatterbox emphasizes that Khashoggi's proximity to these events does not demonstrate criminality on his part. But it does illustrate Khashoggi's "Where's Waldo?"-like ubiquity in the noir environment where shocking events tend to take place. Khashoggi is what the journalist Malcolm Gladwell has termed a "connector," that is, a person who stands at the intersection of many social networks. (For more on Gladwellian connectors, click here.) At the moment, Khashoggi appears to be preoccupied with a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation and pending class action concerning some alleged financial improprieties on the part of a Khashoggi-controlled telemarketing and infotainment company called GenesisIntermedia. This story has been bird-dogged by David Evans, the small-caps columnist for Bloomberg News. Hence our first connection to 9/11: Bloomberg News' founder, Michael Bloomberg, just got himself elected mayor of New York City in the confusing aftermath of the World Trade Center's collapse.

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Khashoggi's second connection to 9/11 is more direct but also more difficult to verify: An Oct. 7 article by Frank Connolly in Ireland's Sunday Business Postquotes unnamed U.S. intelligence officials alleging that Khashoggi has made "protection payments" to Osama Bin Laden.

The other connections mostly fall into the category, "If You're a Rich Guy From Saudi Arabia, It's a Small World." We begin with this passage from Peter Bergen's new book, Holy War, Inc.:

During this period Mohammed bin Laden [a.k.a. Osama's rich dad, now deceased] would also jump-start the career of another Saudi billionaire, Adnan Khashoggi, known in the West for his flamboyant spending, his walk-on part in the Iran-contra scandal, and his nephew, Dodi Fayed, who died along with Princess Diana in the Paris car crash. In the early 1950s Mohammed needed some trucks for his construction business in a hurry. Khashoggi was able to make a $500,000 purchase of trucks in the United States, for which Mohammed paid him a commission of $50,000. It was Khashoggi's first business deal.

Also, drawing from a Sept. 23 article by Greg Burton in the Salt Lake Tribune:

  • Adnan Khashoggi's father, Mohammed Khashoggi, was Mohammed Bin Laden's family physician;
  • Adnan Khashoggi attended college in Alexandria, Egypt, with some of Mohammed Bin Laden's children (though not Osama, who's a good 20 years younger).
  • Soon after Sept. 11, it was alleged, apparently inaccurately, that the CIA had once funded Bin Laden. Khashoggi has almost certainly received financial assistance over the years from the CIA.
  • Manhattan U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani once tried (unsuccessfully) to prosecute Adnan Khashoggi for fraud in connection with a real estate venture. Khashoggi accused Giuliani of grandstanding in order to get elected mayor of New York. Giuliani was New York City mayor on Sept. 11.

Bonus Non-9/11-Related Khashoggi Sighting: Reader Jon Lasser sent in the following snippet from "The Curse of the Sevso Silver," a long yarn by Peter Landesman in the November Atlantic about intrigue surrounding some ancient Roman treasure:

In late September, Van Rijn met with Yard detectives at the British embassy in Madrid. He had with him an old friend, a man he and the detectives had been referring to in telephone conversations as "our friend in Spain." The friend was Felice Cultrera, an amateur art-and-antiquities collector; the owner of casinos in Paris, Belgrade, and Prague; someone who was allegedly linked to the Sicilian drug-running Santapaola Mafia; and a money man for the weapons merchant Adnan Khashoggi [italics Chatterbox's].

Timothy Noah is a former Slate staffer. His  book about income inequality is The Great Divergence.

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