Jeffrey Epstein’s tutor

Part 10: Adnan Khashoggi and the fine art of wooing royals and presidents

  • PART 1: Apollo Global, deep pockets with ties to the NBA, Jeffrey Epstein, and Buzzy

  • PART 2: The earliest days of Sears Roebuck, the CIA, and United Fruit

  • PART 3: 1950s and 60s: Buzzy at Princeton, the CIA messes with mind control, Leon Black’s dad

  • PART 4: Beverly Hills in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s

  • PART 5: Buzzy the banker.

  • PART 6: In business with criminals

  • PART 7: Everyone in this story owns planes

  • PART 8: “The biggest crime in American history”

  • PART 9: “A stealth invasion of the U.S. banking industry”

  • PART 10: Jeffrey Epstein’s tutor

  • PART 11: Richard Nixon and Adnan Khashoggi

  • PART 12: The Dechert Report

  • PART 13: Nazis at the Waldorf Astoria

  • PART 14: Hitler’s American business friends

  • PART 15: Epstein teaches at private school

When we published Part 1, the series you are reading had all been drafted. It would be six parts.

Then, it got weird. I started hearing from sources, learning interesting things: Air America, Iran-Contra, the arms trade, BCCI, money from cocaine and heroin, an assertion that I was sniffing around “the biggest crime in American history.” My goal as a journalist has always been to make things clear, to un-muddy waters. Now, we’re at part 10, on the road to 15, and—apologies—it’s more dizzying than ever.

The series began with the knowledge that the NBA was somehow tied to a spy novel’s worth of billionaires, the CIA, Jeffrey Epstein, royals, money laundering, secret recordings of illicit sex, and pedophilia. The mystery: What holds it all together? What’s the plot? A lot of the truth is knowable, but has so many names, dates, and implications. Villains hide in a tangle of associates and offshore entities. Turns out the truth is complex and muddy as hell.

Except today. For Part 10, things get simple again. 

What or who could connect the NBA, billionaires, the CIA, Jeffrey Epstein, royals, money laundering, secret recordings of illicit sex, and pedophilia?

Adnan fucking Khashoggi, that’s who. 

This is not Jamal Khashoggi, the journalist who entered the Saudi consulate in 2017 and was never seen again. Jamal Khashoggi, the CIA has concluded, was assassinated and dismembered on the order of a member of the Saudi Royal family. 

Adnan was Jamal’s uncle—who played an essential role in securing that same royal family’s support from the United States. Adnan Khashoggi’s life is the rare one that weaves together just about every component of this story:

  • The NBA: Check. He almost bought the Utah Jazz. Interestingly, Khashoggi’s official website says he did. He lived in the skyscraper that’s the NBA’s headquarters right now. 

  • Billionaires: Khashoggi was one, and knew just about all of them.

  • The CIA: You bet. The Agency and Khashoggi had similar banking habits, contacts, and allies. There were CIA and former CIA people at his parties, in his most sensitive negotiations, and in at least one case resurrecting a deal that netted him a reported $100 million.

  • A.B. “Buzzy” Krongard: He was a banker with connections, a bigwig at the CIA, and a current board member of Apollo Global and … pops up here, too.

  • Jeffrey Epstein: TrueHoop sources say Khashoggi tutored Epstein personally, in London. 

  • Royals: Khashoggi hosted them constantly. 

  • Money laundering: The committee that looked into Khashoggi’s business led, through many twists and turns, to the 1977 passage of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. One resulting workaround—moving money around offshore in tough-to-trace ways—was Epstein’s area of expertise. New York magazine: “A source who spoke with journalist Vicky Ward said one of Epstein’s clients was the late Saudi arms dealer Khashoggi, a middleman in the Iran-Contra scandal who helped smuggle cash for the Marcos family out of the Philippines.”

  • Secret recordings of illicit sex and pedophilia: We’ll get to that.

Saudi Arabia became a nation in 1932, after a lot of fighting by the man who became the realm’s first leader, King Abdulaziz. The young desert nation changed forever six years later with the discovery of oil, eventually making Saudi Arabia one of the richest nations on earth. 

The money presented opportunities. Most importantly, it elevated the house of Saud above internal rivals. Also, it nominated new ways to protect the peninsula from the Soviet Union, Egypt, Iran, and others.

The King settled on a strategy: Win the allegiance of the United States. To that end, the kingdom made a show of banning slavery in 1962, and investing in domestic causes that would send the right impression: roads, health insurance, education, and housing.

And they unleashed a well-financed secret agent. “As part of his plan,” writes Ronald Kessler in his incredible profile of Khashoggi, “[the King] secretly commissioned the twenty-seven-year-old Khashoggi to act in an unofficial capacity to strengthen ties with the U.S. and Western countries.”

“Khashoggi was to obtain arms, invest to win friends and influence, and serve as the royal family’s eyes and ears.”

It worked. A June 22, 1966 press release from Lyndon Johnson’s White House:

AT THE INVITATION of President Johnson, His Majesty King Faisal ibn Abdul Aziz al-Saud is paying an official visit to the United States of America. His Majesty and the distinguished members of the Saudi Arabian Government who accompanied him were warmly welcomed by the President and members of the United States Government. 

Khashoggi made it happen with the help of his friend Gale Livingston, a key executive at Litton Industries—a defense contractor run by one of President Johnson’s best friends. 

Ronald Kessler’s Khashoggi biography, “The Richest Man in the World,” came out in 1986. In it, he says that Livingston helped Khashoggi make the right impression in Los Angeles, home of much of the aerospace and defense industries. One of Livingston’s recommendations was to stay in the exact same bungalows at the Beverly Hills Hotel that would later host Drexel Burnham Lambert’s Predator’s Ball and, reportedly, various assignations of Donald Trump. 

After meeting President Johnson, King Abdulaziz and his entourage traveled to the Waldorf Astoria in New York. At the Metropolitan Club (a few minutes’ walk from what would become Trump Tower, Apollo Global, the NBA, and Khashoggi’s home in New York), the heads of Litton, Chrysler, Lockheed, McDonnell Douglas, Union Oil, Raytheon, and TWA met personally with their new most important client, the King of Saudi Arabia. 

The King had near-infinite new wealth, an urge to translate it into influence and stability, and the blessing of the President. The contractors had the tools of holding power: planes, weapons, and more. 

Khashoggi set up shop in one of the hotel’s restaurants. “Always,” Kessler writes, “there were gorgeous, available young women at Khashoggi’s table.”

On that trip, Khashoggi traveled with his uncle, Yousuf Yassin. A Syrian man who lived in Saudi Arabia, Yassin became one of the King’s most trusted advisors. He had grandiose public titles, but one of his key duties was private: “As Abdul Aziz aged, he worried about his potency,” writes Kessler, “and it was one of Yassin’s assignments to provide the King with ever younger nubile maidens.”

“From Khashoggi’s birth,” writes Kessler, “Yassin was his mentor.” 

Khashoggi was raised in a restrictive world, where in public women were almost entirely covered. Then he went to college in California, and eventually discovered a man named Bertram Meadows, who ran a very expensive brothel in London, called Churchill’s. The women were stunning, and young—Kessler reports that Meadows retired them at 24. Khashoggi cemented his reputation with important Saudi royals by bringing princes to Churchill’s. He brought Meadows’ women on trips, to casinos, and parties.

“He had more important things to do,” writes Kessler, “than wait for a woman to decide if she wanted to go to bed.”

Khashoggi’s second wife reportedly began traveling with him when she was 17. There was no special prohibition against sex with children. Kessler writes: “Nor is there any stigma attached to sexual relations with young girls. Even a six-year-old is considered marriageable.” 

Kessler’s book tells how it worked:

Much as others might offer chocolates or fruit after a meal, Khashoggi provided the girls to friends, associates, or members of the Saudi royal family. The liaisons were on the yacht, in the planes, in Khashoggi’s homes, or in hotels in London, Paris, or Venice. There were baths in champagne and strange couplings. Khashoggi might order a call boy and a call girl to make an Emir’s evening more intriguing. … If they wanted a sniff of cocaine during their romps, someone in Khashoggi’s organization could supply it.

Stephen Kinzer in The New York Times:

Many reports of Mr. Khashoggi’s life and career, including his first wife’s divorce suit, refer to his use of procuresses to assure a steady flow of young women for himself and his guests, clients and influential friends like Saudi princes and the shah of Iran. 

The Independent’s Adam Lusher writes:

On board the yacht Nabila, visitors included at least one US ambassador. But the most frequent guests were as New York magazine put it, “Arab princes, Third World officials, and shadowy European and American businessmen.

“Ensconced in its suites, they used the 150 telephones and the satellite communication system to arrange arms sales and commodities trades.” …

One of the “girls” used in this way, Pamella Bordes, later spoke of being “part of an enormous group … used as sexual bait.”

Khashoggi’s first truly enormous commission came in 1971, when he set up a deal for Saudi Arabia to buy HAWK missiles from Raytheon. Upset at Khashoggi’s expansive demands, Raytheon cut Khashoggi out—or tried to. The ensuing fallout almost cost Raytheon from being active in the kingdom at all. “A variety of shadowy yet powerful Central Intelligence Agency agents” had to intervene, says Kessler. Khashoggi emerged with more leverage than ever, and a commission of more than $100 million.

The CIA recurs in Khashoggi’s story. Some of his defense contractor clients used consultants like Kermit (Kim) Roosevelt, Teddy Roosevelt’s grandson, who was once head of the CIA’s Middle East operations. A guest at some Khashoggi parties is Miles Copeland, formerly of the CIA (and father of the drummer of The Police, Stuart Copeland). James H. Critchfield, was in charge of Middle East affairs for the CIA for most of the 1960s, and later worked in the Nixon White House. “Critchfield was a friend of Khashoggi’s and spent many hours with him in Washington, Beirut, and other parts of the world,” writes Kessler.

Khashoggi’s New York-based butler said he resigned because he tired of “a countless and endless stream of young women,” who would often arrive eight at a time. 

In the course of divorcing Khashoggi, his then-wife Soraya “says she opened Swiss bank accounts for some executives of California Aerospace companies, that Khashoggi procured prostitutes for these same California executives, and that he gave gifts of up to $25,0000 to their mistresses.”

Kessler tells the story of Hollywood icon Robert Evans. He and Khashoggi invested together in the movie The Cotton Club, produced in part by Melissa Prophet, who frequently traveled with Khashoggi. Kessler tells the tale of an Evans trip on Khashoggi’s plane with a stunning young woman:

In all his years in Hollywood, Evans had rarely seen such a gorgeous face and form. Then the woman changed into a diaphanous negligee and yawned. “Let’s go to bed,” she said, beckoning to the flying bedroom. 

“Good night” Evans said, his legs shaking. “Aren’t you going to come?” she asked. 

“No,” he replied. 

After the landing in New York, Melissa phoned Evans and giggled. She had heard a tape recording of the entire conversation.”

The movie was a flop. The creation of it involved a real murder and Evans’ own conviction for dealing cocaine.  

But don’t ignore the most interesting part of that story: The whole conversation was recorded.

Olympic Tower is where the NBA headquarters are right now, overlooking St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

In 1976, Khashoggi spent millions to build a giant two-story home there. “Many of the residents,” writes Kessler, “bought their apartments outright for cash—no questions asked—and put them in corporate names for tax and security reasons.”

The Olympic tower was built by the shipping magnate—and Jackie Kennedy’s second husband—Aristotle Onassis. Once it was complete, they started making special accommodations for Khashoggi’s legendary two-storey residence, with an Olympic swimming pool, its own internal elevator, and all kinds of security. 

“A separate room was built,” writes Kessler, “just for the security men who monitor video cameras that ran the apartment’s 46,782 square feet.”

Debbie White wrote about Jeffrey Epstein’s New York apartment in The Sun:

The revelations follow claims made last year by Maria Farmer, who alleges she was abused by the disgraced paedo when she was a 26-year-old aspiring model in 1996.

She said that guests were secretly filmed in every bedroom and toilet of his $75 million New York City home.

While appearing on CBS This Morning, Maria said that Epstein's' plush home was under constant TV surveillance.

The pervert—dubbed one of the Big Apple's "top studs"—showed her his so-called "media room".

Security men were "monitoring everything" including guests' bathrooms.

Was Khashoggi important to Donald Trump?

Trump famously didn’t like to read much of anything as president; The most important intelligence document on earth, the presidential daily brief, had to be reduced to charts and a short talk. 

“I read every word about Adnan Khashoggi,” Donald Trump told Dominick Dunne of Vanity Fair

Khashoggi seemed like a special influence. Trump bought Khashoggi’s boat, and opened Trump Tower a few blocks north of Khashoggi’s home, in 1983. 

Both knew Epstein.

Epstein and Khashoggi were both detained in Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center, where Epstein died. 

While they were locked up, at least some of the rich and the powerful must have been worried.

Some sources have tried to explain why dealmakers like Khashoggi so often involve young women. Here’s the explanation that finally made sense to me. Did you happen to watch the Netflix documentary on the college admissions scandal

Rich parents paid massive fees to a middleman, Rick Singer, to get their kids into colleges. Singer paid bribes to coaches at elite schools to get the rich kids through admissions by falsely claiming they’d be on the team. It worked for some time.

It fell apart, though, because of rats. The authorities caught wind of the scam and visited one of the coaches, and … he told them everything. On the first visit! The next thing you know the Singer was an informant too, with his phone bugged, and all kinds of people went to prison.

This is exactly how not to run a successful long-term scam. 

Now just imagine how this all would have happened if the conspiracy’s key people were on video, committing a life-altering crime. 

You can see why a person like that might not cooperate with authorities.

There’s a movie called “The Infiltrator” about the real undercover customs agent in Tampa who brought down the legendary Bank of Credit and Commerce International by posing as a money launderer. (Khashoggi, of course, was very involved.) 

When the agent, played by Bryan Cranston, finally meets face to face with high-ranking cartel members, their gift is a night with a prostitute. He politely declines to sleep with her, citing his fiancee. It almost ruins the whole deal.

“You gotta fuck with them,” screams his advisor, “that’s the way you get their trust.”

In Khashoggi’s biography, on his website, he seems to take credit for thinking up a portion of Iran-Contra. The biography says he saw a way to get some U.S. hostages, being held by Hezbollah, released. So he took a proposal to the CIA, which involved doing an arms deal between Israel and Iran. Later, without Khashoggi’s knowledge, the website says, the Contras were involved.


Part 11: Khashoggi, Richard Nixon, and Buzzy, coming soon. Thank you for reading TrueHoop!

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