Jordan's King Abdullah hoarded hundreds of millions of dollars in at least six different bank accounts, according to banking data leaked yesterday which exposed the secret owners of some $108 billion held in Swiss bank Credit Suisse.
The huge trove of banking data was leaked by an anonymous whistleblower to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. They include details of the hidden wealth of Credit Suisse clients involved in torture, drug trafficking, money laundering, corruption and other serious crimes. The leaked data contains details of 18,000 bank accounts.
The accounts of many prominent figures from the Middle East were exposed in the data leak including those held by intelligence and military figures from Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Iraq and Algeria.
The bank's clients included the sons of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Alaa and Gamal Mubarak, who established business empires in Egypt. After the Arab spring uprisings their fortunes changed, and in 2015 the brothers and their father were sentenced to three years in jail by an Egyptian court for embezzlement and corruption.
Another Mubarak henchman linked to Credit Suisse's banking services was Mubarak's former spy chief Omar Suleiman. His associates are listed in the data as beneficial owners of an account that held $35 million in 2007. Suleiman was a feared figure in Egypt, where he oversaw widespread torture and human rights abuses.
According to the trove of data, Jordan's King Abdullah and his wife, Queen Rania, opened several accounts during a period of massive unrest in the Middle East following the 2011 popular uprising, which led to leaders being toppled in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen, and a brutal, protracted war breaking out in Syria. One account held by royals is said to have been worth some $244 million.
Jordan protesters throw stones at billboard of the king
The timing of the accounts opening has sparked allegations that the king was not only using the Swiss accounts as insurance policy in the event of a regime change similar to those seen across the region but also accusations that his life is totally disconnected from the people. Jordanians have been saddled with a cost-of-living crises which has sparked some of the biggest protests seen in years.
Lawyers for King Abdullah and Queen Rania said there had been no wrongdoing by their clients and gave an account of the source of their funds, which they said were compliant with applicable tax law, reported the Guardian, which was given access to the leaked documents. Holding an offshore bank account is not illegal and there is no suggestion that King Abdullah has broken laws by structuring wealth offshore.
Nonetheless, revelations of the Swiss bank accounts are likely to cause further embarrassment for King Abdullah who has previously been named among 336 high-level politicians and public officials in October's financial scandal involving secret offshore dealings and the use of tax havens, to amass huge personal wealth.
The documents revealed that the Jordanian king owns a network of offshore companies to amass a $100 million property empire from Malibu, California to Washington, DC and London. In the most controversial purchase, he is alleged to have bought three beachfront mansions in Malibu through three offshore companies for $68 million in the years after Jordanians filled the streets during the Arab Spring to protest joblessness and corruption.
Report: Dubai is a haven for dirty money