The prince who keeps on giving


Geraldine Sealey
August 5, 2004 9:33PM (UTC)

From Knight-Ridder:

"For President Bush, the first family and Bush's top aides, the most generous foreign leader last year by far was Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah. The State Department's annual tally of gifts to administration officials shows Abdullah gave them $127,600 in jewelry and other presents, including diamond-and-sapphire jewelry valued at $95,500 for first lady Laura Bush."

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"The Saudi royal family's gifts dwarfed those of other world leaders, according to the tally, and easily eclipsed Abdullah's $55,020 in gifts in 2002. Abdullah has been Saudi Arabia's de-facto ruler since 1996 after a stroke sidelined King Fahd."

"All of Abdullah's gifts, and most others, sit in the National Archives. By law, federal employees must report all gifts received from foreign governments. The president and vice president and their families can't keep gifts worth more than $285, which become federal property. While in office, however, they can take the items out on indefinite loan from the Archives."

"According to the State Department's records, Abdullah also gave the Bush family two sets of diamond and white-gold jewelry by the exclusive Italian jeweler Bulgari and an $8,500 mantel clock 'elaborately detailed in silver and gold vermeil.'"

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"Abdullah's gifts also included ornamental daggers with ivory handles, worth $1,500, for chief of staff Andrew Card and national-security adviser Condoleezza Rice; a miniature silver sword for Secretary of State Colin Powell, worth $1,500; and a small golden statue of a horse for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, worth $700."


Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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