King Abdullah II of Jordan
|King Abdullah II of Jordan|
|Born||30 January 1962|
|Member of||House of Hashim|
King of Jordan
Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein is King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and Custodian of the Holy Sites of Jerusalem, reigning since 7 February 1999, and is a 41st-generation direct descendant of Muhammad. He is a leading member of the ruling House of Hashim.
Abdullah was born in Amman as the first child of King Hussein and his second wife, British-born princess Muna. A few weeks before his death in 1999, King Hussein named his eldest son Abdullah his heir, and Abdullah succeeded his father.
King Abdullah liberalised the economy when he assumed the throne, and introduced reforms that led to an economic boom which continued until 2008. Following the Arab Spring of 2011, Jordan's economy contracted, its petroleum supply was cut and trade with neighboring countries collapsed. More reforms took place amid unprecedented challenges stemming from regional instability, including an influx of 1.4 million Syrian refugees into the natural resources-lacking country.
The files expose that the Arab world’s longest-serving current monarch has spent the past decades amassing an international luxury property empire worth well in excess of $100m (£74m), with its footprint stretching from the clifftops of Malibu, California, to Washington DC and on to central London’s most exclusive postcodes.
Abdullah built this property empire showing the same zeal for secrecy he has demonstrated when asked about his finances at home. He has disguised his ownership through a series of offshore companies incorporated in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), according to records shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists with the Guardian, the BBC and other media outlets around the world.
The multimillion-dollar properties were acquired as US economic and military aid to Jordan quadrupled and Jordanian citizens were subjected to austerity as part of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout for the resource-poor country.
The leak of papers also reveals how the Jordanian ruler secretly acquired a portfolio of seven luxury UK properties – including three in Belgravia, London. Purchased between 2003 and 2011, the UK properties are estimated to have a current market value of about £28m. The UK was sending up to £100m a year in bilateral aid to Jordan during much of the time covered by the papers.
The king’s lawyers said: “HM [His Majesty] has not at any point misused public monies or made any use whatsoever of the proceeds of aid or assistance intended for public use … HM cares deeply for Jordan and its people and acts with integrity and in the best interests of his country and its citizens at all times.”
Relations with Syria
On 4 October 2021, Richard Medhurst tweeted:
Yesterday, Jordan's King Abdullah had his first phone call with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since the war began in 2011. Jordan has resumed flights to Damascus and reopened the border. More Arab countries will choose rapprochement with Syria, as the Western-backed coup fizzles out.
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