Thailand orders Khashoggi's arrest for fraud

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The Independent Online
Adnan Khashoggi, the Saudi Arabian tycoon, was embroiled in a fresh legal tussle yesterday, when Thailand issued an arrest warrant for the jet-setting financier, who was once one of the world's richest men. Police said they had ordered the arrest of Khashoggi and four other officials of the Bangkok Bank of Commerce Plc (BBC) on charges of conspiring to defraud the bank.

An officer said the Bank of Thailand requested the warrants for the five on suspicion that they jointly conspired for Khashoggi, 61, to draw two billion baht ($77.5m) in loans from the BBC, without credible collateral, in 1995. The whereabouts of the globetrotting businessman are unknown. But his multi-million dollar deals, court cases and elite acquaintances have spread his fame throughout the world.

Khashoggi, whose wealth once totalled $4bn, amassed one of the largest personal fortunes in the world by playing middleman in the transfer of Western arms and technology to Arab oil states.

Much of it came from commissions paid in the 1970s by Western corporations that he guided in dealing with an Arab world flush with petro-dollars and anxious to modernise.

In 1986, Khashoggi played a key role in initiating contacts between Israel and US officials on the US government's then-secret scheme to sell arms to Iran.

Throughout his career, he has hobnobbed with the high and mighty, entertaining the former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger, the former head of Chrysler Lee Iacocca, and King Juan Carlos of Spain on his private yacht. Reuter, Dubai