Nepal’s ex-king has hundreds of millions stashed away: author

KATHMANDU, June 10, 2008 (AFP) – Nepal’s ousted king is thought to have close to 200 million dollars stashed away inside the country and even more abroad, according to an author who has probed royal finances. Surya Thapa, a journalist who has written three books on the Himalayan royals, said ex-king Gyanendra is unlikely to feel any financial squeeze as a commoner, and that state accountants will have a tough time if they want to confiscate his wealth.

“According to my research, he has around 195 million dollars invested in around 35 companies in Nepal and may have transferred more abroad,” said Thapa.

“Nobody knows how much money he has outside Nepal and there is no way anyone can find out,” he said.

The author said Nepal’s rulers have a history of putting their cash abroad and doing their best to conceal it.

Up to nearly three decades ago, “the royal family was very visibly investing in land, property, companies and industry,” said Thapa. But a referendum in 1980 giving the royals a slim vote of approval made them fear for their future.

“The vote alarmed them so they started investing very silently” through third parties such as loyal supporters, he told AFP.

“Gyanendra has be