Khalid bin Mahfouz (Arabic: خالد بن محفوظ) is a wealthy Saudi Arabian businessman who is suspected of having links to terrorism. Many of the details of his life are controversial and disputed by various parties. Mahfouz himself says that he detests terrorism, and has never supported it in any form.
Khalid bin Mahfouz is the eldest son of Salim Ahmed bin Mahfouz , a Saudi entrepreneur who rose from being an illiterate moneychanger to the founder of the first bank in his country, the National Commercial Bank of Saudi Arabia (NCB). Salim Ahmed then became the personal banker of the Saudi royal family. He handed management of NCB, the largest bank in the country, to Khalid sometime in the 1980s.
In 1990 Khalid bin Mahfouz acquired Irish citizenship through inward-investment procedures. The practices of the Haughey and Reynolds administrations between 1989 and 1994 are a matter of controversy in Ireland and are being investigated by the Moriarty Tribunal, but there is no question that bin Mahfouz did not acquire his citizenship legitimately under the procedures applicable at the time.
Bin Mahfouz is married with three children. His personal net worth was $1.7 billion in 2002, making him one of the richest people in the world; his family fortune is worth over $4 billion. He has been involved in various business and charitable organizations throughout his life.
Bin Mahfouz was the director of BCCI, a huge financial conglomerate later convicted of money laundering, bribery, support of terrorism, arms trafficking , and many other crimes. Bin Mahfouz personally owned a 20% stake in BCCI. He was not convicted of any crimes in relation to BCCI scandal; however, as Forbes Magazine reports,
- A New York state grand jury indicted Khalid for fraud, and the U.S. Federal Reserve alleged that he breached banking regulations. He denied any wrongdoing. The charges were dropped in 1993, but only after Khalid agreed to pay $225 million, including $37 million in lieu of fines. Khalid together with NCB was also involved in a separate $253 million deal to settle claims with BCCI's creditors.
Donations to Osama bin Laden in 1988
Craig Unger's book House of Bush, House of Saud claims that bin Mahfouz donated over $270,000 to Osama bin Laden's Islamist organization at the request of Osama's brother Salem bin Laden. Bin Mahfouz does not deny this, but his lawyer stated: "This donation was to assist the US-sponsored resistance to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and was never intended nor, to the best of Sheikh Khalid's knowledge, ever used to fund any 'extension' of that resistance movement in other countries."
Alleged familial relationship with Osama bin Laden
In US Senate testimony in 1998, CIA Director James Woolsey stated that bin Mahfouz's sister is a wife of Osama bin Laden, making the two brothers-in-law. Bin Mahfouz has consistently denied this. Many publications, including the Wall Street Journal, the LA Times, Fortune Magazine, the Washington Post, and USA Today, reported that the two were brothers-in-law. Each publication has since issued a retraction, sometimes after lengthy litigation.
In the libel trial against Wall Street Journal, Woolsey testified that bin Mahfouz had been misidentified. Woosley later stated "I don't know what to say other than there was some confusion, but I never meant to refer to Bin Mahfouz's sister."
Alleged NCB funding of al-Qaeda
Khalid bin Mahfouz has denied that NCB, his bank, was involved in funding an al-Qaeda group. According to reports, high-placed Saudi businessmen transferred millions of dollars through NCB to charities operating as fronts for al-Qaeda. Bin Mahfouz states that he could not have been aware of every wire transfer moving through the bank, and that he would not have allowed such transactions had he known they were taking place. There is no evidence that bin Mahfouz was personally involved in any of these transactions.
Additionally, Forbes reports:
- [I]n 1999 the [Saudi] government stepped in, buying a controlling 50% stake of NCB from Khalid for at least $1 billion, partly used to wipe Khalid's debt from the books. Khalid and his family retained 34% ownership, but he again surrendered his management positions. . . The extent of Khalid's mismanagement at NCB remains shrouded. NCB has not issued audited numbers since 1998, but it did acknowledge last year that provisions for bad loans in 1999 and 2000 reached $934 million, covering 86% of its doubtful debt.
Bin Mahfouz vigorously denies that NCB was ever audited by the Saudi government.
Controversies regarding Muwaffaq
Khalid bin Mahfouz set up a charity organization called the Muwaffaq Foundation , whose name means "blessed relief". He funded this charity with $30 million, and put his eldest son, Abdulrahman bin Mahfouz , on the board of directors.
In October of 1999, the U.S. Treasury Department named Muwaffaq as a al-Qaeda front. Neither Khalid or Abdulrahman have been accused of funding terrorism by the United States; however Yasin al-Qadi , a Saudi Arabian man who was hired to run the charity, has been named a supporter of terrorism by the US Treasury, which has frozen his assets.
Khalid bin Mahfouz claims that if the charity ever funded terrorists, he wasn't aware of it. He has initiated an investigation of his own into Muwaffaq's activities.
Alleged ties to George W. Bush
Khalid bin Mahfouz inherited many assets from the Saudi Binladen Group when the group's director, Salem bin Laden, died in a plane crash in 1988. Among these was an interest in Arbusto Energy, a Houston oil firm founded by George W. Bush. Bin Mahfouz's holdings were managed by James R. Bath, a close friend to Bush and the former manager of Salem bin Laden's US assets.
After Arbusto merged into Harken Energy, bin Mahfouz continued to be tangentially involved in the company's affairs through BCCI representatives. Bush, Harken's CEO at the time, denies any knowledge of bin Mahfouz's involvement. According to the Modern History Project bin Mahfouz was the owner of Harken energy. 
There have been numerous allegations that Khalid bin Mahfouz was named a terrorist financier by the United Nations, but all these allegations have either been retracted or have lawsuits pending against them by Mahfouz's law firm. The UN denies having placed Mahfouz on such a list. "To the best of our knowledge," a spokesman officially states, "the UN has never published any report citing Khalid bin Mahfouz in any context whatsoever."
The controversy springs from the fact that the JBC Consulting Group prepared a report for the President of the Security Council of the United Nations in December of 2002. They listed Khalid as one of seven "main individual Saudi sponsors of al Qaeda." This report was not prepared by the UN, but it was submitted to the UN, and has been widely circulated. JBC claims that the report was issued at the request of the UN, but Alfonso Valdivieso , the president of the UN Security Council at the time, denies this.