Los Angeles has lengthy enjoyed a recognition as a playground for the well off, however the handsome teenage prince who arrived 9 years prior to now operated on a safe level.
He came from the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar on a non-public jet with a squad of servants, a bottomless pure gas fortune and the said purpose of a college education. He installed himself in the Beverly Wilshire, the resort that “Somewhat Lady” made illustrious, and embarked on a way of life that few undergraduates could well well perhaps imagine — luxurious suites for Lakers games, lunch at the Ivy and odd excursions to gamble in Las Vegas.
He took the city with an entourage, a rotating assortment of cousins and chums from again dwelling, in a rapidly of exotic sports actions cars, rubbing elbows with a flashy place that included Scott Disick of “Maintaining Up With the Kardashians,” and asserting his exuberance in customized trucker hats emblazoned with his initials: KHK.
Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the son and, later, brother of Qatar’s emir, at closing graduated from the University of Southern California and returned to the Heart East. He grew to was an officer in the country’s inner safety provider and has cultivated a image as a jet-atmosphere heartthrob. His Instagram story, with bigger than 1,000,000 followers, has featured the rushing, goateed royal yachting, using precious autos, skydiving, and on occasion cuddling with minute one tigers.
His college years in L.A. were a closed chapter in a colourful existence, and they per chance would comprise stayed that manner were it not for a assortment of indictments closing year by federal prosecutors in Boston. The costs in the college admissions scandal didn’t involve Al Thani or his family, however the excessive-profile prosecution, with its allegations of well off oldsters scheming to get underqualified offspring into USC and different universities led to some who knew the prince to reassess the circumstances of his education. Quickly thereafter, The Cases received a tip to appear into his college level.
From the second Al Thani stepped off the aircraft, a full financial system rapidly grew up around him to fulfill his desires and whims: chauffeurs, a safety detail, concierges, trainers, a nurse, an all-reason fixer and even, per several USC college members, a graduate pupil who served as his academic “sherpa.”
Earlier than he started classes, a billionaire trustee arranged a non-public meeting between the university president and the prince’s mother, and once he arrived, the institution showered him with special remedy.
He was allowed to blow off class for uncertain “safety causes” as an undergrad, then was handed a grasp’s level for a length in which he took several holidays in Europe and never stepped foot on campus.
His enablers went to unprecedented lengths to comprise up him pleased: Forging documents, flouting university solutions, plying a UCLA dean with a golden camel statue, giving a Rolex to a professor and even, accounting records and interviews indicate, procuring a $500 gift for a DMV employee so that you could well stable a coveted arrogance plate.
The authorities of Qatar didn’t answer requests to interview the prince, now 28; his mother — an internationally well-known tutorial philanthropist; or others associated with his pause in L.A. A Fresh York authorized expert representing the prince, David G. Keyko, didn’t answer dozens of questions submitted in writing. In a letter to The Cases, he said, “Your research to this point has grew to was up suspicions, suppositions and more than one ranges of hearsay about matters that, in the occasion that they came about at all, befell years prior to now.”
This week, Max Shulklapper, a spokesman for the prince, said the questions The Cases raised were racially insensitive, “if not outright bigoted”: “Would you be asking these questions if a white pupil allegedly didn’t expose as a lot as his college class, or was pulled over for rushing? Would you ask these questions if a white pupil’s parent allegedly donated money to a school against its betterment?”
The prince was raised in a family that prized higher education. His mother, Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, is a world-well-known advocate for university studying who established a immense college complex in Qatar. His father, Hamad, who served as emir unless 2013, attended the British military academy Sandhurst, and his older siblings went to elite universities including Harvard, Duke and Georgetown.
The youngest boy in the family wanted something different — a college education in the solar-kissed city that has lengthy been a vacation destination for Heart Easterners.
L.A. could well well perhaps merely comprise appealed to the prince’s laid-again style. While his mother dressed in couture and his father in tailor-made suits or the conventional Qatari thobe, he continually wore backwards ball caps, beanies, athletic shorts and hoodies.
He began his academic sojourn in February 2011 in a place about as a long way from the palaces of his youth as one could well well perhaps imagine, L.A. Mission College.
A neighborhood college place amongst the tract homes of Sylmar, Mission has an overwhelmingly Latino and low-earnings pupil physique. Simply about 60% of scholars are regarded as “meals insecure,” and bigger than 1 in 10 are homeless.
Why the prince selected Mission is unclear. The campus was 25 miles from the Beverly Wilshire, the place he lived, and the force, largely alongside a notoriously clogged stretch of the 405, could well well perhaps receive bigger than an hour one manner. There were not not as a lot as 9 neighborhood colleges nearer to the resort, and they supplied almost about the identical programs.
Al Thani signed up for classes alongside with two cousins in his entourage, Nasser and Jabr. After the most major day at Mission, the prince most steadily attended class, said historic chauffeur Martin Agabus and one more employee who, like many of the prince’s ex-staffers, spoke on the condition of anonymity to comprise future job possibilities.
Global students were uncommon there — not as a lot as 2% held pupil visas — and Heart Easterners were significantly odd, the college and crew said. But college and crew contacted by The Cases said they were unaware that Qatari royals were amongst them.
Even in Beverly Hills, the place well off folks with money to burn are about as general as valet stands and foreheadlifts, the prince’s wealth was significant.
For the explanation that nineteenth century, his family has dominated the tiny nation of Qatar, one of the dear arena’s richest countries on a per capita foundation. It sits atop advantageous pure gas and oil reserves, generating billions in annual proceeds. With their fortune, the Al Thanis comprise bought iconic hotels, a French soccer team, Miramax film studio, a Sardinian resort, thoroughbreds, yachts and masterpieces of art. In L.A., the family sank bigger than $300 million into developing a Bel-Air hilltop compound anchored by a 77,000-square-foot mansion.
When the prince arrived in L.A., Qatar laid out for a tiny military of servants to again to him, including one man who made his tea and one more who ready his hookah.
At the Beverly Wilshire, his butlers lived in $600-a-night rooms and the half of-dozen chauffeurs and safety guards dined in the resort restaurant, the place a cheeseburger ran $30. The prince and his chums stayed in suites with views of Rodeo Force.
The duty of paying the payments fell to an American who lingered on the fringe of the prince’s entourage.
Joseph Jourieh, 60, had a assortment of legit titles at Qatar’s U.N. Mission, including director of public kinfolk and lunge coordinator. A Twitter bio described him as a “solution finder.” His background also included a Fresh York impart charge in 2018 that he bribed a supervisor at JFK airport with limousine rides, meals and a behold in relate that Qatar could well well perhaps park its diplomatic airplanes in a single day for the length of the United Worldwide locations Customary Meeting, a violation of airport solutions. The supervisor pleaded guilty closing year to receiving unlawful gratuities and legit misconduct; Jourieh contested the charge and prosecutors in the extinguish dropped the case against him.
When Al Thani moved into the Beverly Wilshire, Jourieh flew to L.A. and took up a project someplace between fixer and babysitter. Amongst his tasks was to approve payments sooner than they were sent on to the Qatari authorities, per interviews with historic staffers and invoices reviewed by The Cases.
It was not constantly a truly easy job. The prince and his chums didn’t want folks again dwelling gleaming all of their American exploits.
Jourieh struck up a relationship with Beverly Hills Hire-A-Automobile, a scrappy Westside outfit identified for leasing exotic vehicles to vacationers. The company started churning out payments to ship to the Qatari authorities for all manner of wants: day use of a Maybach ($2,900), a safety guard ($600), a pair of cook dinner assistants ($475 each and each), VIP Disneyland tickets and tour ($9,600), a VIP equipment for the Clippers ($23,000) and a suite for 12 at the Lakers ($12,750).
The invoices ran for pages and pages, making it sophisticated for the Qatari authorities to detect scandalous fees or inflated fees, per accounting logs and interviews with staff.
In one example, the auto rental agency paid $200 for a Virgin Airways flight and then charged the Qataris $8,seven-hundred, per company records. The company billed $Seventy three,000 for fair correct fees for a nonexistent authorized expert, company officers acknowledged to The Cases. It’s unclear whether the prince himself knew the dear capabilities of the billing.
In spite of every little thing, the overcharges created a slush fund that was extinct in share to pay for whatever the prince wanted kept off the books, per historic Chief Monetary Officer Mohamed Diakite and different staff wakeful of the Qatari story.
Over six weeks in 2014, the auto agency laid out $300,000 for the prince and his entourage to exhaust at the Wynn Resort and On line casino for the length of journeys to Las Vegas, the records expose. Even though playing is forbidden in Islam and handled as a crime in Qatar, Al Thani and his entourage repeatedly visited Las Vegas, per social media posts and billing records reviewed by The Cases. Traditional staff said they witnessed the males playing on the on line casino floor.
The manner Beverly Hills Hire-A-Automobile dealt with Qatari billing shy some at the company. In sworn testimony in a 2012 lawsuit against the company, a historic financial executive termed the going through of Qatari money “illegal.” A historic company president alleged in a lawsuit closing year that the company generated “erroneous invoices … to facilitate misappropriation of funds to boot to to overcharge possibilities.”
Diakite, the odd CFO, said that over his eight years of employment, he grew eager he was taking fragment in “flat-out fraud” by the company, one of diverse accusations he leveled in a lawsuit closing year. He and the company are suing each and each different over the circumstances of his termination.
In an interview, the auto rental companion who oversaw the prince’s story, David Sajasi, acknowledged that he concealed expenses that Al Thani and his entourage “didn’t wish [their] oldsters to know” by listing them as “different payments” in the invoices.
“We belief we were gods. We were making so great,” Sajasi said.
After Al Thani returned to Qatar, the gush of cash dried up, and the company went out of industry.
In a transient phone name, Jourieh, the fixer, declined to answer to questions, including, “No topic I’m going to reveal isn’t very going to exchange the relaxation.”
The longer the prince stayed in L.A., the further money the grande dame resort at the corner of Wilshire and Rodeo took in.
One manner to comprise up Al Thani and his entourage beneath the Beverly Wilshire’s roof was to ensure he remained a pupil.
When Al Thani was in his second year of neighborhood college, Chris Gleeson, a resort executive in management of world industry, reached out to UCLA.
Gleeson informed an administrator that the son of Qatar’s emir was drawn to political science, and suggested that if UCLA played its cards fair correct it could per chance probably well well per chance be in line for a gigantic donation, per an electronic mail the administrator wrote later on.
It was not an altogether extraordinary proposition. Beneath the management of the prince’s mother, Qatar has given bigger than $1 billion to American universities, making it the largest international funder of U.S. higher education.
Gleeson’s name led to a meeting with Alessandro Duranti, then dean of social sciences. The resort executive, Jourieh and an affiliate arrived at his place of work with a place of golden camel statues and just a few different gifts, and the delegation made it decided that they wanted a promise of admission for the prince.
“I informed them continually that first of all, as a dean, I didn’t handle admissions at all; and that we won’t admit somebody ensuing from a pair special place,” Duranti said.
Al Thani’s representatives kept pushing for an hour, he recalled, with one telling him, “His Highness doesn’t like to hear ‘no.'” The dean refused to whisk.
The Qataris shifted their consideration from Westwood to USC.
The Al Thanis knew several USC trustees, including Thomas J. Barrack Jr., a well off L.A. investor and founder of Colony Capital Inc. who oversaw construction of the family’s Bel-Air compound. The tumble after UCLA rejected the Qatari overtures, Al Thani’s mother, Sheikha Moza, came to L.A. and Barrack arranged a seek the advice of with with USC’s president.
C.L. Max Nikias was then at some stage in a $6-billion fundraising advertising and marketing and marketing campaign, one of primarily the most heroic capital drives ever in higher education, and each and each folks in the room that day knew Qatar was in a space to give generously to USC.
Four months after the meeting ended, the prince started at USC as a transfer pupil. His cousin and end pal Nasser enrolled alongside him. Round the identical time, USC began pursuing a valuable grant from the Qatar Foundation for the university’s marine research center on Catalina Island.
USC referred questions on the meeting to Nikias, who resigned in 2018. In an announcement, Nikias said that he “had no discussions about the probably admission of her son” for the length of the meeting. Moza’s nonprofit, the Qatar Foundation, said in an announcement that the prince had already been admitted, and described the meeting as “a courtesy seek the advice of with.”
“At no time for the length of the meeting were capacity grants or different financial contributions talked about,” the muse said.
As soon as classes began, Al Thani displayed minute enthusiasm for his stories, per folks who worked for him. He spent great of the day in his suite at the resort, playing video games with his entourage and dealing out with a trainer, historic staff said. He passed many evenings speaking to chums at Urth Caffe. On uncommon and transient journeys to campus, he loved to inch the grounds and seek the advice of with eating institutions, the staff said.
But he made the dean’s list thrice.
One probably rationalization for this academic success was his relationship with a grad pupil named Juvenal Cortes. Cortes was a teaching assistant in a political science lecture route Al Thani and his cousin enrolled of their first semester at USC.
It was an unlikely pairing. Cortes was a Mexican immigrant who grew up end to the Port of L.A. in an condo he shared with seven members of the family. His upward push from poverty to a doctoral program at USC’s political science department was a level of pride for him and the university. At closing he would stable a space as an assistant professor at Occidental College.
As a doctoral pupil, Cortes received free tuition and a stipend to cowl residing expenses, and was not supposed to work outside the university with out permission.
Nonetheless quickly after he met the Al Thanis, Cortes started telling others that he had a aspect gig with the prince. At a meeting with Steven Lamy, then a vice dean for USC’s Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, Cortes outlined that he was working for the royal “to accumulate extra money.”
“He was acting as a form of handbook [or] sherpa for this emir’s son,” Lamy said.
Lamy, who had been at the college since 1982, said he had never heard of such an association however he listened as Cortes sought his advice about ask college for special remedy for the prince.
“He said, ‘There are going to be times he’s going to be out of town,’” Lamy said. “I said, ‘Professors are sovereign. You need to well well perhaps merely want to work it out with them.’”
At needed conferences with his political science department advisor, the prince arrived with Cortes, and the grad pupil took an active role in mapping out Al Thani’s route time table, advisor Paul Kovich recalled.
Cortes also approached professors on behalf of the prince and his cousin. One adjunct said Cortes presented himself as the prince’s emissary for the length of a 2013 route and encouraged the teacher to return to him with any considerations, a suggestion the professor declined. One more untenured instructor said in an interview that Cortes took him aside at the starting of a 2015 route and said Nasser Al Thani would never again the class however ought to quiet “absorb well” grade-brilliant. The quiz didn’t appear “on the up and up,” the professor admitted, however he complied then one more time.
A Qatari authorities spokesman didn’t answer to questions on Nasser Al Thani or the untenured professor’s story.
In not not as a lot as two different programs, Al Thani was excused from attendance after he invoked unspecified “safety causes” and acquired professors’ permission to post work electronically.
Campus police were not informed of any threats associated to Al Thani, and Lamy, the odd vice dean, said he was on the total informed of legit safety concerns. “I’d’ve had a briefing. I purchased no briefing,” he said.
How Cortes was compensated, and the scope of his responsibilities, aren’t decided.
Eight folks who worked at Beverly Hills Hire-A-Automobile said they were informed by Sajasi, his assistant or others at the company that a person was being paid to attain the prince’s schoolwork. None was informed of the person’s name.
Diakite, the odd CFO, said Sajasi informed him in a 2015 conversation that he ought to quiet bill Qatar for the cost of a Mercedes SUV as a mode to partly compensate the person. A March 2015 bill exhibits the country was charged $118,000 for a Mercedes, and three different historic staff confirmed Diakite’s story. There’s no indication Cortes or somebody else associated to Al Thani’s education ever received the auto and the records absorb not expose the place the money paid by Qatar for the Mercedes went.
Sajasi denied his historic staff’ accounts and said his company didn’t compensate somebody in connection with the prince’s education. He added, “Those that comprise worked in decrease jobs make issues up because they’re juicy.”
Approached outside his Occidental place of work closing year, Cortes said he didn’t know the relaxation about a USC pupil assisting a Qatari prince.
“You ought to quiet surely test with the [political science] department,” he said, sooner than ending the conversation . He declined subsequent interview requests and refused to answer to detailed questions submitted in writing.
The prince did expose as a lot as not not as a lot as two classes at USC, one in world kinfolk and one in political science, each and each taught by the identical professor. The professor, who was wakeful of Heart East politics, informed Al Thani firstly of the most major route that he knew who he was, and gave him and his classmates a warning: I receive roll every class and attendance is required.
Al Thani showed as a lot as the class repeatedly and signed up for a second one taught by the identical professor the following semester.
When the closing paper was due, Al Thani requested for an extension and the adjunct granted it, as he said he continually did for varsity students. A chauffeur later delivered the paper in a earn that also contained a Rolex.
Disturbed, the adjunct said he went to the Beverly Wilshire and returned the behold.
“I don’t think he was fully responsive to the American tutorial machine. I felt this was a likelihood to educate him. I said, ‘This is fully unacceptable,’” said the adjunct, who requested anonymity to focus on candidly about a historic pupil.
The next year, the identical driver delivered the Rolex one more time; this time, the prince refused to receive it again.
The adjunct researched promoting the behold to support USC, however stumbled on that it was already registered in his name with Rolex. As an alternative, he wrote a test to the university for its estimated mark, $12,500. USC confirmed his story.
The adjunct has never primitive the behold, he said. It remains in a drawer in his dwelling.
It was 1:20 a.m. on a college night in 2014, and Khalifa Al Thani was tearing down the 10 Small-get entry to toll road at a hundred thirty mph in a white Maybach. He and his entourage were getting again from several days at the Wynn in Las Vegas, and the prince was using so rapidly that a Differ Rover pushed by one of his chauffeurs could well well perhaps barely comprise up.
The California Dual carriageway Patrol pursued the vehicles, and after they exited at La Cienega, officers detained the prince and his entourage and gave him a quotation for rushing. L.A. prosecutors would later deliver in a criminal grievance that he was using recklessly and flaunting a terrible tempo.
Al Thani never showed as a lot as his arraignment — even after prosecutors sent a perceive to the Beverly Wilshire. There is quiet an active warrant for his arrest.
Fleet cars were the prince’s gigantic like. He rented some in California and brought two of his private: a $890,000 McLaren and a $1.5-million LaFerrari.
Those vehicles executed their very private roughly reputation in West L.A.: Automobile enthusiasts shot videos of them parked outside the Beverly Wilshire, and Scott Disick, the ex-boyfriend of Kourtney Kardashian, posed on the hood of Al Thani’s McLaren. “Thanks for the glide @KHK,” Disick captioned the characterize on Instagram, which was later published by the Day-to-day Mail.
Al Thani wanted something more — a California registration code bearing his initials, KHK, per two historic staff. Nonetheless there was a arena: The arrogance plate was already registered to one more motorist.
Sajasi’s assistant went to a Draw end to the Long Seaside DMV in November 2014 and charged $524 on a Beverly Hills Hire-A-Automobile bank card.
“Reward for DMV gain,” an organization accounting log learn. The identical day, an employee in the Long Seaside branch signed off on Al Thani’s quiz for the KHK plate, per DMV records.
The prince later posted a characterize of himself wearing a trucker hat decorated with a mini model of the KHK arrogance plate.
Asked whether the auto rental agency had bribed a DMV employee, Sajasi said: “I don’t think so.”
A DMV spokeswoman said certain records associated to the plate had been purged, however that an inner overview indicated “processes and procedures were adopted.”
The summer sooner than Al Thani’s senior year at USC, a member of his entourage took to Instagram to reward the prince as “the one who saved my existence.”
“I’ll never neglect the support and the toughen. Now not as of late, not day after as of late and not even in a thousand year. Thanks God and thanks for sheik Khalifa bin Hamad al Thani,” Mado Khaled wrote in the 2014 put up subsequent to a smiling characterize of the prince.
Khaled was a aggressive bodybuilder from Lebanon nicknamed “the Puma.” He had worked as a non-public trainer in Doha sooner than becoming a member of the prince’s L.A. entourage, and referred to Al Thani on social media as his “boss.” He lived at the Beverly Wilshire and trained to compete at Venice’s well-known Muscle Seaside.
By 2014, Khaled wanted a kidney transplant; he wrote on Instagram, “My profession of being a champion bodybuilder had taken its toll on my health.” Two historic staff of Al Thani said Khaled informed them steroid use was to blame. In the U.S., transplants are heavily regulated and patients can exhaust years on ready lists.
A man from Egypt came to L.A. and moved into the Beverly Wilshire. At Cedars-Sinai Medical Heart, one of his kidneys was transplanted into the bodybuilder. Khaled chronicled the experience online, posting a selfie with Dr. Stanley Jordan, the doctor who heads the kidney transplant program.
That year, there was simplest one transplant at Cedars in which a noncitizen received a kidney from a nonrelative, federal records expose. The authorities of Qatar paid for that job.
Agabus, the odd chauffeur, and two different ex-staff said the man who supplied the kidney was paid to struggle through with the transplant, though they didn’t know the explicit offer of the money.
Paying for an organ is a federal crime in the U.S. A Cedars spokesman said the sanatorium could well well perhaps not reveal on Khaled’s transplant ensuing from federal privacy laws, however that donors and recipients attest in writing that no money has changed fingers.
Jordan said he remembered the bodybuilder’s transplant however denied gleaming about any rate for the kidney. He said from his perspective, there was “no nefariousness” in the donation.
“We don’t comprise the flexibility to look at those kinds of issues, however we absorb ask that they offer their observe that right here isn’t very going on,” Jordan said.
Khaled didn’t return messages in quest of reveal. The one who supplied the kidney stayed on in L.A.; a one who identified himself as his husband declined an interview quiz on his behalf, asserting, “He’s surely not into any form of memoir.”
Al Thani’s lawyer, Keyko, refused to answer to questions on the prince’s role in the transplant, however said any suggestion he had paid for the organ was “a severe allegation which appears to be like to be unfounded and lacking in each and each proof and connection to our consumer.”
Quickly after Khalifa Al Thani returned to Doha in 2015 with a bachelor’s level, Cortes visited USC’s Annenberg College and inquired about the likelihood of the prince getting a grasp’s level, per a college legit.
The sheikh was admitted to a graduate program in public diplomacy, however the legit said when classes began, Annenberg was informed that family responsibilities kept a long way from the prince from attending.
Professor Nicholas Cull, then director of the public diplomacy program, acknowledged that the prince bought a “special dispensation” to look at remotely, never granted to any pupil sooner than or since. In lieu of classroom attendance, one professor agreed to textual verbalize material over Skype about the week’s subject matters with a person he was informed was Al Thani. He said the exchanges lasted for an hour to 90 minutes once per week and he never saw the person’s face.
Social media of the prince for the length of the length he was enrolled in the graduate program expose him taking fragment in military workout routines on a handful of times. Many posts depict him engaged in leisure actions: stress-free at a restaurant in the South of France, motoring through Monaco in a Ferrari, hunting with falcons in the Algerian desolate tract, riding a dune buggy on a Doha shoreline, playing volleyball in a London park and skydiving in more than one areas in England.
When actor-rapper Tyrese Gibson visited Doha in 2016 — per week sooner than closing assessments at USC — Al Thani played host, prompting the film well-known person to write on Instagram, “Talking LA!!!!!!!! Sheikh Khalifa aka @khk went to USC for four years and he’s asserting gigantic issues about my city!!!!!”
Cull, the graduate level director, defended the peculiar association, asserting the papers Al Thani submitted were “of a extremely excessive odd, doubtlessly publishable.”
Professor Phil Seib, who has taught in the graduate program for bigger than a decade, said that he had lengthy-standing contacts in the Qatari authorities, however was not informed that Al Thani was a pupil. He expressed alarm at the accommodation.
“That’s not what we absorb,” Seib said. “We’re supposed to be a world-class university. College students ought to quiet be at college.”
The four years Al Thani spent in L.A. were a payday for plenty of. Nonetheless not USC. Nikias traveled to Doha and visited the Qatar Foundation, the deep-pocketed nonprofit flee by the prince’s mother, Sheikha Moza. He came away empty-handed, university officers said.
The grant that USC looked for the Catalina Island marine center never materialized.
Mute, Sheikha Moza and her husband, the now-historic emir, were expected to honor the campus with their presence at their son’s 2015 commencement, per college members and staff of the prince.
A share of Shrine Auditorium had been reserved for the royals, and a golf cart designated to squire them all the intention through campus.
Now not one of the dear Al Thanis showed, not even the prince. The professors on the Shrine stage were left staring out at empty seats.
Cases multiplatform editor Sam-Omar Corridor contributed to this document.