Donald Trump Once Bought A $200M Yacht from Jamal Khashoggi’s Famed Arms Dealer Uncle [exclusive]

nabila, Adnan Khashoggi, Jamal Khashoggi, anewdomain, Donald Trump
Written by Gina Smith

U.S. Pres. Donald Trump told TV host David Letterman in 1988 that he’d just purchased a 200M yacht from billionaire arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi. The late billionaire is the uncle of disappeared journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was allegedly murdered last week in Istanbul. Watch here. By GINA SMITH

aNewDomainThe Washington Post journalist presumably murdered after visiting the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul this month is the nephew of the billionaire arms dealer who once sold a $200M yacht to U.S. Pres. Donald Trump, records suggest.

According to an interview Trump gave TV host David Letterman in 1988, Trump bought the 285-foot luxury motor yacht (pictured above) from the Adnan Khashoggi.

Best known for his role as middleman in the 1980s Iran-Contra scandal, he also was the uncle of the late Dodi Al-Fayed, who was Princess Diana’s boyfriend when he was killed with her in a 1997 Paris car crash.

Jamal Khashoggi went missing on October 2, the day he visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to collect final divorce documents. Turkish police claim a 13-member Saudi hit quad tortured, murdered and dismembered Khashoggi inside the building, an allegation the Saudis deny. Turkish authorities say video transmissions from Khashoggi’s Apple Watch prove the Saudis murdered the journalist, but so far they have yet to reveal them.

In the clip below, Trump jokes with Letterman about how he felt bad about buying the yacht from an arms dealer, and about how much fuel it burned.

Story continues below the fold.

Not long after the 1988 TV appearance with Letterman, Trump ran into financial trouble and sold the yacht, according to reports. Yachting stats collected by the Monaco Eye confirm Trump’s purchase of the yacht, as well as its later sale to Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal.

Notably, Al-Waleed is the grandson of the first Saudi king, Ibn Saud, and no stranger to Silicon Valley watchers and investors.

Al-Waleed, who The Economist once dubbed the ‘Arabian Warren Buffet,”  bought the yacht from Trump the following year, when Trump ran into financial trouble, according to reports. Al-Waleed is the same Saudi billionaire who holds the fourth largest stake in Twitter and who was arrested (and later released) in a high-profile Saudi Arabian corruption purge last November

According to Trump, speaking to TV host David Letterman that year, the 280-foot Trump Princess was purchased from Khashoggi in 1988 on the condition that Trump rename the boat after he bought it. (In the clip, Trump incorrectly calls it a 300-ft yacht.)

The boat was originally named The Nabila, named after the elder Khashoggi’s daughter,  actress Nabila Khashoggi. She is but one of the billionaire’s eight children. In 1983, The Nabila appeared in the James Bond film, Never Say Never (1983). 

On the 1988 late night show appearance, Trump laughed when Letterman, noting that Khashoggi “was the largest arms trader in the world.”

“I hate to admit it,” answered Trump.

“What are these guys like?” asked Letterman.

“Oh, they’re real sweethearts,” joked Trump, laughing.

“Are they mean, tough, forboding guys?” pressed Letterman.

“I’d say by nature they are not the nicest guys in the world, Trump answered, and continued:

“Um, you know, he spent probably $200 million dollars on building this yacht  … and it is probably the greatest yacht ever built.  I purchased it for a business … but I have a real problem using it personally, bc, a mental problem, using it personally, I feel guilty about it, if you want to know the truth.”

Later in the interview, Trump added that he felt guilty about its huge fuel consumption, too.

“You know, I don’t even know. but I really don’t like it. Someone was saying, With Khashoggi, they just turn on the engines and do whatever they want to do. With me, they wanted to turn on the engines to show how it worked, and I said do not do it.

“I keep the engines off as much as possible,” said Trump.

Trump ran into financial trouble the following year and sold the yacht to Saudi Prince Al-Waleed, according to reports, who then renamed it the Kingdom 5KR.

Over the years, Trump has kept up with the wider Khashoggi family, research shows. Mohammed Al-Fayed was a guest at his and Melania’s wedding.

“Mohammed Al-Fayed is a friend of mine and is a great guy but a lot of people don’t know that,” Trump told PropertyWeek about Mohammed Al-Fayed back in July 2003.

Al-Fayed is the father of Dodi Fayed, as mentioned above, and is the uncle of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

For aNewDomain, I’m Gina Smith.

aNewDomain’s Tom Ewing contributed reporting to this story.

Photo of Adnan Khashoggi in France in the 1980s: By Roland Godefroy – Own work, CC BY 3.0,