The infamous corruption case involving the Jordanian king’s uncle is poised for resolution under Prime Minister Omar al-Razzaz’s watch. Walid Kurdi, 74 years old, CEO and chairman of Jordan Phosphate, a state-owned mining company, was investigated by the Jordan Anti-Corruption Commission (JACC) in 2013. Kurdi is married to Princess Basma bint Talal, King Abdullah’s aunt, which technically makes Kurdi the king’s uncle. The former JACC committee head, Ahmad al-Shagran, reported that Kurdi left Jordan and flew to the UK a day prior to his scheduled testimony appearance to the anti-corruption committee. Shagran also said that the committee was able to amass enough evidence from the mining company for them to be able to file multiple corruption cases against Kurdi. In the same year, following Kurdi’s self-imposed exile to London, a Jordanian court gave him a sentence of 37 and half years of hard labor and a fine amounting to $378.8 million.
Years after Kurdi’s exile, Jordanian authorities are still eager to pursue his arrest. According to some reports, Jordan even issued an Interpol red notice to request Britain to hand over Kurdi in 2017 but was unsuccessful. Recently, Kurdi’s lawyers and the Jordanian authorities are on the process of negotiation that would help the king’s uncle to return to Jordan. This unusual turn of events is made possible after Kurdi secured a position in the Jordanian cabinet. It was also reported that if Kurdi did not return to the country by the end of this May, all his assets would be seized, and he will be officially considered a fugitive. Jordanian lawyer, Mahmoud al-Kharabsheh, said that if the deal is done, it will be a win-win situation for both Kurdi and the Jordanian government under the leadership of Prime Minister Omar al-Razzaz. In his analysis, if the case will be settled, Kurdi will be able to continue doing business through Jordan Phosphate and the government can show to the public that they are true to their promise to battle corruption.
As of today, there is still no official comment from the camp of Kurdi regarding this issue as he remains under the radar in Britain. Nevertheless, Kurdi stated on his website that his corruption case and the charges thrown at him are groundless and unconfirmed. He added that he did not have a chance to have a legal representation amidst the corruption case chaos, and all allegations are not true and unsubstantiated.
On the other hand, the Jordanian government has also not yet released an official statement regarding the Kurdi corruption case. The country is also in the middle of a financial crisis where inflation and the unemployment rate continue to rise, and the national debt is already about $39 billion since 2018. Regular protests are also seen across the kingdom since May 2018, which even resulted in the resignation of the previous Prime Minister Hani Mulki. The current Prime Minister Razzaz took an oath to fight corruption once he has taken over the position. Last week, he asked his ministers to file their resignations after corruption concerns were raised.