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Inside the world of arms dealing

  • Published at 12:27 pm June 17th, 2017
  • Last updated at 07:15 am June 18th, 2017
Inside the world of arms dealing

I was deeply shocked and saddened when the news reached me of the death of my dear, dear friend, business partner, and mentor Adnan Khashoggi.

Adnan was many things to many people and I was privileged to know a different side of him than most.

It’s said he was a womaniser with two official wives; many pleasure wives, and other beautiful women whose names history has not recorded. And it’s probably true. He loved life.

It’s said that he enjoyed living the good life and he lived it to the full. The most expensive of expensive cars, a magnificent state-of-the-art yacht, private aircraft, and luxury homes around the world, lavish parties, and expensive jewellery were his “toys.”

And all that’s also true. He loved life.

But while he enjoyed all the luxuries that money can buy; he was not without heart for the poor, the downtrodden, the homeless, the sick, the aged, and children with disabilities. But it’s unlikely that you will read about that.

That’s probably because, in the 1980s, he and I made a pact at the Dorchester Hotel in London, that a certain percentage of the income from our arms sales would be donated to various charities in different countries anonymously.

Both of us already had our own individual pet charity projects to support, but Adnan suggested we should do charity work together like brothers, like family, and I loved the idea … we already felt we were brothers and this brought us that much closer together.

It was Adnan’s laughter, radiant smile, sparkling eyes, and quick wit that I embraced from our first encounter and these reflections will remain with me eternally

Adnan was the most prolific weapons dealer of his era who brokered deals with governments, arms manufacturers, and private clients across the globe -- and he did it in style never seen before.

American President Donald Trump said of him: “Khashoggi understood the art of bringing people together and putting together a deal better than almost anyone -- all the bull******** apart.”

There was no doubt Adnan was intelligent and gifted with rare talents. He could talk his way out of any situation. As the Irish would say, “he had the gift of the gab.”

I remember one time we were in an African country (which shall remain nameless); in the middle of nowhere, in unbearable heat, miles from civilisation and surrounded by perspiring, trigger-happy, machine-gun-toting soldiers as we discussed a potential business transaction. From the moment of our arrival, the negotiator drank alcohol heavily, non-stop, while we stuck to Coca-Cola.

During the meeting, it became clear that the drunk African negotiator was not representing the elected government, as we had been led to believe, but a group of rebels who were prepared to slit our throats on the spot if we did not deal with them. The leader even said: “Deal with us, or deal with no one.”

Both of us feared for our lives.

The thought of instant death awakens an unprecedented, insatiable desire to live. Fortunately, Adnan had a brainwave, and out from his mouth came an explanation so plausible as to why we needed more time to supply the arms; it would have won a Pulitzer award if on paper.

Adnan’s eloquence literally saved our lives and I’m grateful.

Needless to say, there was no business transacted. We only ever did business with legitimate elected governments, but the nature of the business itself demands total secrecy and clandestine meetings as described above.

We experienced many quirky incidents together; some life-threatening, some not so much, which I’m saving for my biography. It was Adnan’s laughter, radiant smile, sparkling eyes, and quick wit that I embraced from our first encounter and these reflections will remain with me eternally.

A person that departs from this earth never truly leaves, for they are still alive in our hearts and minds -- through us, they live on.

Adnan Khashoggi will always have a permanent home in my heart and will live perpetually.

My thoughts and prayers are with his extended family and to whom I extend my condolences.

Prince Moosa bin Shamsher is a Bangladeshi business tycoon.

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