King Abdullah to retire, with dollars paid for homes and palaces

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption King Abdullah’s luxury homes and palaces in Syria and Jordan came at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars

King Abdullah of Jordan has announced he would soon retire from the throne – and with him come considerable sums of cash.

Mr Abdullah has been a senior figure in the Arab world for a quarter of a century. He has headed the family monarchy since 1999.

The BBC’s Rosemary Grant attended court for two days in 2009, when then-premier Abdullah II was celebrating the 100th anniversary of the coming into power of his ancestor the prophet Muhammad – who founded Islam.

In the palace guests were treated to an extravagant parade of cars and horses.

It was reported then that government funds would be used to prepare luxury homes and palaces for King Abdullah.

He also received more than £16m in travel and hospitality expenses, paid for by Jordanian and British taxpayers.

The cash meant Mr Abdullah had to claim a refund for more than £23m, so far.

In 2013, Mr Abdullah became the fifth richest monarch in the world, according to Forbes, worth £30m.

It followed a report in the Washington Post that two luxury Swiss villas had been allocated to the prince in the 1980s by US President Ronald Reagan to protect him from the threat of a Soviet invasion.

To boost his financial safety net in the years before he became king, a majority share in Anas al-Gazal Investment Co was bought for £93m in 1998.

It was bought at a discount to an earlier offer in 1995 and was sold the following year to Dubai developer Emaar Properties for £503m.

And in 2002, with more business on the horizon, Mr Abdullah bought the Cedar One Place hotel in Amman for £21m.

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