Exiled Saudi intelligence chief denies embezzlement charges

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Former intelligence chief Saad Al-Jabri has denied embezzling billions of dollars from Saudi Arabia and is urging a Canadian court to lift a freeze on his worldwide assets. The 62-year-old, who held a cabinet-rank intelligence post under deposed Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef, is living in exile in Toronto and alleges that he was the target of an assassination plot orchestrated by current Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

The latest round of the feud between Al-Jabri and Riyadh saw a group of state-owned companies filing a lawsuit in an Ontario Superior Court last month alleging that the former senior intelligence official was the “mastermind” behind a scheme to defraud the companies of $3.5 billion. He is alleged to have hidden the funds in various offshore locations to enrich himself, his family and friends.

According to the Wall Street Journal, ten companies owned by Tahakom Investments Co., a subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, filed the civil suit. It alleges that Bin Nayef colluded with Al-Jabri to receive at least $1.2 billion in misappropriated funds. The former crown prince, who is believed to be held under house arrest since he was deposed in a palace coup in 2017, allegedly transferred at least $55 million to Al-Jabri as kickbacks. Bin Nayef wasn’t named as a defendant in the lawsuit that was filed in the Canadian court.

Read: Saudi to US: Don’t use universal jurisdiction to prosecute crown prince

Last week the Ontario Superior Court ordered a world-wide asset freeze against Al-Jabri and directed him to disclose his assets publicly or face possible jail time, according to court documents seen by the Journal. The court also ordered banks, law firms and accountants in Canada, Switzerland, Turkey, the UAE, Britain and the US to disclose any records related to Al-Jabri’s assets, and requested assistance from those jurisdictions to enforce the disclosure order.

Al-Jabri has denied these allegations. A campaign advocating on his behalf said that his family will fight the “recycled corruption allegations” vigorously and are “confident” they will succeed in dismissing them. “The family welcomes the opportunity to face off against Bin Salman in neutral judicial forums.”

The lawsuit has been dismissed as a political tool aimed at undermining the critic of the Saudi regime. Six months ago, Al-Jabri filed a lawsuit of his own in a US court claiming that Bin Salman had ordered a hit squad to kill him just 13 days after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018. Details of the lawsuit showed striking parallels between the attempted assassination of Al-Jabri and the brutal killing of the dissident Saudi journalist in Istanbul.

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