Arms dealer involved in the Iran-Contra scandal returns, now selling his image

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He was a small man, with a very neatly trimmed black mustache, seated in a corner, leaning forward on his walking stick, smiling, sipping Scotch from a glass that seemed too large for his frail hands. His face brightened with a smile as he reminisced about the dictator’s wife who once locked herself in the bathroom of his private jet and the star-studded, five-day extravaganza he threw for his 50th birthday.

Oh, the memories of a fallen billionaire arms trader.

“My personal philosophy is I don’t regret matters that happen, good or bad,” said the man, Adnan M. Khashoggi, who is 74 years old and these days prefers to be remembered as “Mr. Fix It,” rather than the arms dealer involved in the Iran-Contra scandal. “I just accept this as my destiny. It’s a personal attitude.”

Mr. Khashoggi has been linked to — but never convicted in — almost every major scandal of the late 20th century: Wedtech, B.C.C.I., the indictment of the Marcoses in the Philippines, as well as Iran-Contra. He is a favorite of conspiracy buffs, who have connected him to such things as the death of Princess Diana (her boyfriend at the time, Dodi al-Fayed, was his nephew) and to voting irregularities in Florida in the 2000 presidential election (a former employee was a local election official).

Now, he is trying to make a comeback. After a lifetime spent using his connections to make deals for himself, he is working as a consultant, selling his connections.

Instead of commissions he gets “incentive pay.” He flies commercial now (at his clients’ expense), which is a big change for a man who once had his own DC-8, and he lives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the only property he still owned after the collapse of his empire. But he is far from broke, or at least manages to appear far from broke, which has always been the magic of Mr. Khashoggi.

“It is all part of the mechanism for impressing people, with your talk, with your views and with your appearance,” he said of his once-profligate ways...

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