Soraya and Hussein Khashoggi, a tragic destiny

Article published on July 20, 2017
Article published on July 20, 2017

This article has not been vetted by an editor at Paris HQ

When Saudi businessman Adnan Khashoggi died in June, close to his 82nd birthday, his family released a short statement, saying he had “died peacefully, surrounded by his family”. However, questions have been raised about the circumstances of his death and his last few months. Press reports cite Parkinson’s disease, but these are unconfirmed.

The West London Observer recently published an interesting article on the situation.

Living mysteriously for the past few years is certainly out of character for a man known as much for his epic career as for his luxury lifestyle. Khashoggi became the arms dealer of choice for Saudi Arabia during the 1970s and the 1980s. He was involved in the Iran-contra affair and helped the Marcos family extract money from the Philippines. Khashoggi earned as much as 15% commission on billion-dollar deals, which funded his $250,000-a-day lifestyle, including numerous super-yachts and private jets. His 282-foot yacht Nabila was famously used in a James Bond movie and later sold to Donald Trump.

Some articles have been published after Adnan’s Khashoggi’s death in June 2017. Many of them point out the curious relationship he had with a distinct part of his family that has been particularly close to Adnan before his death. Among these articles, an interesting publication from the Daily Mail at the end of June 2017 addresses the situation of “the beauty who fell the earth”: Soraya Khashoggi. This lady is quite famous in West London as a proud fan of Chelsea Football Club. Adnan’s first wife, born Sandra Daly in Leicester in 1941, calls forth a lot of questions : how a women having lived such an extraordinary life of hedonistic luxury can find herself in the 430 West London bus pushing a trolley, living a helpless life and running a modest flowers stand in West London?

This epic story of a star’s rise and fall arouse people’s interest and it makes sense to further the Daily Mail’s investigation in order to learn more about what became of the once envied and sparkling Soraya Khashoggi.

The “flower shop” mentioned in the Daily Mail article turns out to be a small stand in Chelsea, located close to Chelsea Harbour. Some surprising facts have been discovered about the way she lives and her story. The first interesting thing disclosed when talking to the small shop’s customers is that Soraya is helped by her son Sean Daly. After careful online research it turns out Sean Daly was born Hussein Khashoggi and spent the first part of his life in France. He appears in many different French newspapers as having been at the head of a prostitution network involving teenagers in the early 2000. This could be the reason why he changed his identity and adopted a new lifestyle in London. He also seems to be involved in a UK company with his brother Ali Khashoggi, the son of Adnan’s second wife, called Al Nasr Europe Ltd. How comes another member of the family can have fallen that low, running such a small flower shop in London, whilst being the son of the former richest man on earth?

Another intriguing fact is Nabila’s quotation in the Daily Mail’s article. She admitted she no longer spoke to her mother. That is life. But how can you let your mother live in such a precarious situation when you are married to one of the richest American heirs: James Cox Chambers, from the glamourous and successful American business family?

Crucially, two of Adnan Khashoggi’s children: Nabila Khashoggi and Ali Khashoggi as well as his second wife, Lamia Khashoggi, are members of the Church of Scientology. Lamia, a 63-year-old Italian born as Loredana Biancolini, is the mother of one of Khashoggi’s boys, Ali, but she was influential in the upbringing of all his offspring and recruited some children for the Church. Lamia is a close confidante of actor Tom Cruise, the posterboy of Scientology, and she moved to Clearwater, Florida, in 1996 where one of the self-styled Church’s elite centers is based. Nabila’s belonging to the Church of Scientology, which can be very expensive, might explain why she does not have the resources to help a desperate aging mother.

His death and the role of Scientology in his last few years remain a mystery that will need to be unveiled in time.