It was no secret that Jordan’s King Abdullah owns assets overseas, but the information was not disclosed for reasons of privacy and security, the royal palace said on Monday following a massive leak of financial documents.
In leaked files published on Sunday, a close US ally, King Abdullah, is accused of using offshore accounts to spend more than $100 million on luxury homes in the United States and Britain. Reuters could not independently verify the files or the allegations made in them.
“It is no secret that Her Majesty has several apartments and residences in the United States and the United Kingdom. This is not unusual or inappropriate,” the royal palace of Jordan said in a statement.
It said that the king had personally purchased the property and that no money from the state budget or treasury was utilized. The palace said that the king used the properties during official visits and sometimes during private visits.
“These assets are not publicized out of security and privacy concerns, and not confidentiality or attempt to conceal them, as claimed in these reports. Measures to maintain confidentiality are important to Her Majesty’s Head of State.” “English language statement.
A pile-up of millions of records tying various world leaders to secret reserves of wealth comes five years after a leak known as the “Panama Papers” described how wealth was thus hidden by the wealthy. It was found that the law enforcement agencies could not trace it.
The leaked documents come as he continues to grow disillusioned with his rulers in Jordan. The country has seen street protests against economic hardship, high youth unemployment and lack of progress on political reforms.
Opposition politicians say King Abdullah has not done enough to tackle corruption in state agencies, where nepotism is rampant.
He also accused officials last year of using harsh emergency laws to help curb the coronavirus pandemic to suppress civil liberties and destroy public liberties, a charge the government denies. The laws have now mostly been lifted.
Jordan is one of the largest recipients of US and Western aid per capita. Its image as an island of relative stability in the troubled Middle East has made it a longtime favorite for international donors, and the state is also pursuing IMF-guided reforms.
The palace statement said the allegations in the leaked documents were designed to target King Abdullah’s “credibility and the important role he plays both regionally and internationally”.
The documents were leaked by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), a network of Washington DC-based journalists and media organizations. He did not explain how he got the files.
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