The Pandora Papers journalistic investigation has revealed that Jordanian King Abdullah II owns offshore property in the United Kingdom and the United States worth over $106 million, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) reported.
The leaked financial documents found that Abdullah II bought 14 luxury villas in the UK and the US between 2003 and 2017. These include a house in one of England’s most expensive towns, Ascot, several multimillion dollar apartments in the center of London and three flats in Washington D.C. overlooking the Potomac River.
The Jordanian monarch also owns a number of offshore shell companies in the British Virgin Islands, according to the Pandora dossier.
The king’s lawyers contacted the ICIJ and said that all property acquired by Abdullah II was bought with personal funds. His UK lawyers added that the king’s ownership of offshore properties has nothing to do with tax evasion, as he does not have to pay taxes under law. It was stressed that the king did not use the country’s budget funds for any of the purchases either.
Jordan is one of the poorest countries in the Middle East with little oil and water supplies. Over the last seven years the country’s unemployment rates doubled and international financial organizations have lended billions of dollars to help the kingdom cover the humanitarian and defense needs as well as the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ICIJ published the Pandora Papers on Sunday, which like the 2016 Panama Papers, revealed the tax haven of the rich and powerful. The new expose contains leaks of 11.9 million financial documents implicating more than 35 current and former world leaders, as well as over 330 politicians and officials from across the globe, of alleged financial wrongdoing with the use of offshore companies.