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Pandora’s Documents: The King of Jordan Spent Over $100 Million to Build a Secret Real Estate Empire

The King of Jordan has spent more than 70 million pounds (more than $100 million) to build a real estate empire in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Leaked financial documents show that a network of secretly owned companies has been used by King Abdullah II bin Al Hussein to purchase 15 properties since taking power in 1999.

The list includes three oceanfront homes in Malibu, California, worth 50 million pounds, and properties in London and Ascot in the United Kingdom.

King Abdullah’s lawyers said he bought the properties with his own money, and there is nothing wrong with using companies based in tax havens to buy these properties.

Jordan receives significant international aid, with the United States and the United Kingdom leading donors. The British government is considered one of the biggest financial supporters of the government in Jordan, as Britain has doubled the amounts it provides to Jordan, to reach 650 million pounds over a five-year period since 2019.

King Abdullah is seen as a moderate ally of Western countries in the Middle East.

But he accumulated a real estate fortune between 2003 and 2017, even though he was accused of presiding over an authoritarian regime in a country that has seen protests erupt in recent years, imposing austerity measures and tax increases.

In June 2020, the Jordanian authorities launched a campaign targeting money that Jordanian citizens transfer abroad.

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The King of Jordan secretly bought luxury residences in Malibu and Washington, DC in the United States, and in London and Ascot in Britain
A picture of the King of Jordan

The King of Jordan spent about $68 million buying three luxury homes in Malibu, California
Aerial view of a house in Malibu

According to planning records in California, one house will be rebuilt to be twice its current size, while another will have a swimming pool
Another house in Malibu

King Abdullah II’s property includes apartments in Washington, D.C., the city where his son studied
A picture of an apartment building in Washington

I bought a seven-room apartment in this building for $6.5 million in 2012
A picture of the apartment building in Washington

In Britain, King Abdullah II bought eight properties located in London and southeast England, by non-resident companies
A picture of two apartments in London

The properties include homes worth several million pounds and are located near Buckingham Palace. The Jordanian king bought the property shown on the left of the picture and three apartments in the property shown on the right.
A picture of two buildings in the Belgravia neighborhood

One dissident was quoted as saying that King Abdullah appears to be ruling Jordan by “remote control”, and a former government employee told Panorama that he spends four to six months a year outside the country.