Douglas Thmopson - Author and International Journalist



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1000 Million Divorce!

Daily Mail 6th August 1979

Mr Fixit's English wife Soraya says: I was a partner in business as well as in marriage and I want my share

THE former English convent girl who married an Arab Mr Fixit is suing him for a £1,000 million divorce.

The case threatens to blow t he lid off the shadowy world of inter­national wheeler - dealer Adnan Khashoggi.

Soraya Khashoggi, who married the Saudi Arabian multi-millionaire when she was 17, wants half the money he made during the 13 years they were together.

She estimates that at £1,000 million. She is also demanding £270 million in punitive and general damages for 'breach of promise.'

Yesterday she dis­cussed her case at the Beverly Hills office of her lawyer, American divorce expert Marvin Michelson.

She worked as a telephone girl

She said: 'I am entitled to my share of what Adnan has made. I was his partner in business as well as marriage.'

Soraya was plain Sandra Jarvis-Daley to her schoolgirl friends In Leicester.

She was born and brought up in a Victorian terraced house in Lans-downe Eoad, and her mother Florence, a war widow, worked as a cook at the local ambulance station.

She worked as an international telephone operator until her mother won a competition. The prize was a weekend for two in Paris- There, she met Khashoggi and married him in Beirut in 1961 when she changed her name to Soraya.

The marriage took her Into a make-believe world of mansion homes, private planes, yachts and all the trappings surround­ing one of the world's richest women.

But she was also a wife and mother and had five children by Khashoggi.

Then in 1974 they split up. That was the start of a complicated legal wrangle.

They were reported to have been divorced In Cannes under Saudi Arabian law. Then Khashoggi was said to have obtained a secret divorce in Beirut, Lebanon.

Soraya now says they were not valid and claims that Khashoggi warned her at the time that if she took legal action against him he would ban her from seeing their children and disinherit them.

In October, 1977, after a whirlwind romance, she married £6,000-a-year Civil Servant Richard Coombes in a West Country register office.

But just four months later they were living apart and Soraya was seeking an annulment. They were divorced in May this year.

Soraya, who has a mansion near Taunton, Somerset, said earlier this year that she was plan­ning an autobiography which would tell of her 13-year marriage to Khas­hoggi.

She said she had been told that he would offer her a blank cheque to halt publication, but that wouldn't stop her.

Khashoggi, 43, is used to controversy surround­ing his personal and business life.

Harold Robbins's best­seller The Pirate was based on his life-style.

U.S. firm paid him £50 million

Khashoggi is alleged to have been involved in deals that have reaped him millions of pounds just for acting as an 'agent' or 'connector' or 'catalyst.' He has worked with and for several major companies.

In 1975 it was revealed that he had accepted £50 million from the American Lockheed firm to secure contracts for the sale, of their planes in the Middle East.

Last week, Khashoggi, head of the Triad Com­pany based in Liechten­stein—Triad is for the three Khashoggi brothers, of which he is the elder— was accused by the North­rop Corporation of Los Angeles of asking for millions of pounds com­mission which the com­pany said was unwar­ranted and illegal.

He is under investiga­tion for allegedly receiving Illegal commission, kick­backs, and pay-offs while obtaining business for American companies In the Middle East.

He travels 60,000 miles a month in his personal 'flying carpet,' a green and white Boeing 727 equipped with everything from gold coloured bathroom fittings to special wardrobes for his Arab robes and Cifonelli suits—the most expensive in the world.

He has a fleet of Mercedes and Rolls-Royces, a private aircraft carrier and homes in London, Paris, New York, Cannes, Sardinia and Beirut.

He owns banks in Cali­fornia, property in Florida, Texas, Arizona and is involved in multimillion pound developments in Utah.

There are restaurant chains in San Francisco and other interests around the world.

But Khashoggi’s un­checked success will receive a crippling blow if Soraya wins her case.

She said: 'I intend to make him pay. I was a full business partner, a confi­dante and consultant in, various business ventures'.

Lawyer Mitchelson said: 'This case stretches around the world. It involves relationships not just of person to person but com­pany to company, govern-m e n t to government,
'We are talking in enormous sums of money, but the deals were gigantic.'
Mitchelson acted for Michelle Marvin in her history - making lawsuit against actor Lee Marvin and at present represents Bianca Jagger

This latest- case would tax an army of accoun­tants in Soraya’s lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court. She ad­mits that 'the precise amount' of her husband's wealth is not known. She reserves the right to change her claim 'when and if' an exact amount is discovered.

Yesterday two of Khashoggi's 'planes — a Boeing 727 and a DC9 — were in California and Mitchelson said he was; planning to serve court papers on both planes-citing Khashoggi by proxy.

'She is a very. brave woman'

Today Mitchelson will file in court here for divorce. He argues that the Californian courts have jurisdiction as Khashoggi attended two universities in the State and has 'vast dealing!' with Californian businesses.

Mitchelson says of his petite, dark-haired client. 'She is a very courageous woman. I am in the business of people's rights and she has rights. They started out in a modest way and built a fortune together.

'She would have liked to settle her differences in a peaceful and quiet manner and still would like to.

The implication is that what Soraya knows about Khashoggi's empire could prove explosive in a court­room battle.

In her lawsuit, she says that .during her marriage she not only advised Khashoggi but assisted him in other ways like 'delivering a gift of expensive jewel­lery to the daughter of the then -President, Richard Nixon.'

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