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Live in NY and You Live with bin Laden

NYC- She walks down the street on the Upper East Side, thin and stylish, another well-heeled beauty chatting away on her cellphone.

Except that she isn’t – she’s Osama bin Laden’s niece.

Wafah Binladin left the city in the months before her uncle’s ghastly attack, but she’s back now, living at a friend’s posh pad off Park Avenue, pursuing her career as a pop star and living it up on the social scene at swanky Soho House.

A former Columbia student who grew up in Geneva, she takes the subway around town, Elton John sheet music under her arm, trading on her connections and looking for a way into the music scene.

But friends say Wafah is wearing out her welcome with her upscale pals.

“She wants to be a pop star, but no record company will have her,” said one pal.

“At first, we all had sympathy for her and thought she was a nice girl with an unfortunate family connection.” But the pal said Wafah’s “attitude” is alienating people.

“She’s this extremely wealthy girl who is used to getting what she wants and having people jump at her every word,” the friend said.

“She keeps saying, ‘Poor me – I have no family because I left to pursue my dream.’ She has no family because her uncle is a terrorist,” the pal said.

“And the way she treats people! Now she is trying to make money by giving French lessons. But if people don’t want her French lessons, she’ll hang up and scream, ‘Bitch!’ ”

Wafah has also been known to scream at “friends” whose connections did not pan out for her: “You are of no use to me!”

One pal said, “She called up my [connection] and screamed at them: ‘You will meet with me! Now!’ They were like, ‘No way!’ She’s a spoiled rich girl, and it’s wearing thin.”

Wafah also has been known to use aliases – insisting one night her name was really Amanda, and once speculating she might change her name to Deborah, pals said.

Wafah, who is living in an apartment owned by well-off friends, declined to be interviewed numerous times when approached by The Post.

A friend in her building said she is avoiding media interviews and wants to maintain her privacy – despite the dark-haired beauty’s bid to be a pop star.

Wafah’s neighbors and local storekeepers were stunned to hear bin Laden’s niece was living among them after moving from London.

“It’s weird, and it feels awkward that she’s here,” said Richard Gonzalez, 28, who lives and works nearby.

But Marcus Hollingsworth, 42, manager of the Marché Madison gourmet store near the apartment building where Wafah lives, said she should not be blamed for her uncle’s monstrous crimes.

“She has nothing to do with her uncle, so what’s the big deal?” he said.

Wafah’s mother, Carmen, was married to Yeslam, one of Osama’s 53 siblings, all born to patriarch Mohammed bin Laden’s multiple wives. The Binladin family is one of the most prominent in Saudi Arabia – and many of the siblings have disavowed their black-sheep terrorist brother.

Wafah was born an American citizen while her father was studying at the University of California.

She grew up in Switzerland in a multimillion-dollar mansion overlooking Lake Geneva, a child of European privilege, accustomed to high society and expensive shopping.

She studied law at Geneva University before going on to Columbia for a three-year doctorate. An internship at law firm Schulte Roth and Zabel followed.

But she had always wanted a career in music and she stepped up her singing, cutting tracks at a Manhattan recording studio.

She lived in a $6,000-a-month loft on Spring Street, and shopkeepers knew her as a big spender. A saleswoman at Bigdrop reported that she would spend thousands at a time on designer clothes.

But in the months before the 9/11 attacks, she left town.

Afterward, she told an interviewer she was horrified by the slaughter of innocents in the World Trade Center.

“All I thought about was those people in those buildings,” she said. “I couldn’t get hold of my friends. Every night, I’d walk home looking up at the Twin Towers. I kept thinking, how could anyone do such a thing?”

Wafah has only met her notorious uncle once and has rejected her Muslim heritage. She spells her surname – Binladin – differently, but many are surprised she has not changed it as she pursues a career in the music industry.

Until moving back to New York, Wafah was living in style in London. She was seen at various charity functions rubbing shoulders with boldface names like Natalie Imbruglia, Rod Stewart and Phil Collins as she pursued pop stardom and fame.

Her friends in London reportedly included millionaire socialite Tim Jeffries, who has dated some of the most beautiful women in the world – Elle McPherson, Claudia Schiffer and Liz Hurley, among others.

She attended the hottest clubs and was seen mixing it up at a trendy celebrity haunt with Jade Jagger and Jerry Hall.

The sultry singer also reportedly began collaborating with Madonna’s producer, Nellee Hooper, and her music style was described as “east meets west with a funky beat.”

“I love American movies and American music, like Destiny’s Child and Mariah Carey,” Wafah once said. “I love Madonna and Michael and Janet Jackson, too. I love Jennifer Lopez. She’s the most beautiful woman in the world.”

Wafah’s mother, Carmen, said after 9/11, she was afraid her daughter would be forever tormented because of her link to Osama bin Laden.

“I can understand that when people see me, or see my daughter when she says, ‘I am bin Laden,’ will they believe her that she didn’t know, that she didn’t have contact with them [the terrorists]?” she said.

She said her in-laws had even condemned Wafah and her two younger sisters because the girls were brought up in the West and developed Western values.

Still, most if not all of the family doesn’t appear to shun Western money.

Although the Saudi Binladen Group changed its name, at least when dealing with one U.S. firm after 9/11, at least a dozen Wall Street firms are still linked to the company, experts say.

The family’s rich ties have prompted hundreds of relatives of 9/11 victims to sue the firm.

In a complaint filed in U.S. court, the families charged, “While publicly denying a relationship with Osama, a number of the bin Laden brothers and brothers-in-law personally and privately support his cause and contribute to jihad.”



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