Famous Scientologists, Khashoggi and Scientology: a family history

Meet Lamia Khashoggi, Ali Khashoggi and Nabila Khashoggi

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When Saudi businessman Adnan Khashoggi died in June at the age of 81, 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 months.  

Some articles have been published after Adnan’s Khashoggi’s death. 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: the Scientologists. An explicit article of the Daily Mail notably addresses the question.

Crucially, two of his children: Nabila Khashoggi, the wife of the famous American heir Jim Cox Chambers, 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. 

Lamia also used her birth name to set up a charity in her home country, called Children for Peace, which is suspected to be a front for Scientology’s fundraising and propaganda efforts. The charity is registered at a law firm in Turin and counts aristocrats and celebrities among its board, including Ivana Trump. 

Her son Ali is deeply embedded in Scientology. Born in Florida in 1980, he was taught by Bob Rich, a discreet member of its ‘Sea Organization’ management structure in Clearwater. He was involved with fellow Scientologists David Lurie in a Clearwater-registered company called galayxart.com Inc. and with Eli Goldenberg in 2 Save Big Inc. 

While the involvement in particular of Lamia and Ali in Scientology are beyond dispute, the cause of Adnan Khashoggi’s death is mysterious. Press reports cite his Parkinson’s Disease, but these are unconfirmed. Ali is considered as one of the heirs to the estimated $2.4 billion empire his father built. Neither his mother, who today resides in Monaco, not his children have made additional public statements since Khashoggi’s death. 

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. The role of Scientology is his last few years remains a mystery.

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