Alwaleed sued in UK over jet sale to Gaddafi
London, June 26, 2013
The secretive sale of a private jet to Libya's Muammar Gaddafi by billionaire Saudi prince Alwaleed bin Talal came under scrutiny on Wednesday in a London courtroom, where a businesswoman who says she brokered the deal is suing the prince for $10 million.
Prince Alwaleed, one of the world's richest men, is expected to give evidence, in what would be an extremely rare instance of a senior Saudi royal being cross-examined in court.
The jet in question has a history as colourful as its customised interior which boasted a king-size bed and a meeting room with a throne-like leather armchair.
Gaddafi sent the plane to pick up Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset Al-Megrahi when he was freed from a Scottish jail in 2009, and was shown off as a trophy by rebels who toppled Gaddafi in 2011 and were photographed on its silver-coloured leather sofas.
Daad Sharab, a Jordanian businesswoman who had high-level contacts in Saudi Arabia and Libya, says Prince Alwaleed sold the Airbus A340 to Gaddafi for $120 million in a protracted process that lasted from 2001 to 2006.
Sharab, 52, says the prince promised her $10 million in commission but she received nothing. Alwaleed's lawyers say she "played no part in the ultimate sale of the aircraft" and is not entitled to payment.
The case is linked to Britain because Sharab has an apartment in the country where she resides for some of the year and says she agreed the commission with a representative of the prince in a London restaurant in 2001.
In her written witness statement to the court, seen by Reuters, Sharab describes a long business relationship with the prince. She says that in 2003, at the height of negotiations over the aircraft, he asked her to marry him.
"I do not know whether he was sincere about this but I did not think he was joking," she says.
Despite her rejection of the marriage proposal, she says she continued to act for the prince in negotiations and that it was only after the deal was finally completed in August 2006 that he cut her off and refused to pay.
Dressed in a smart black-and-white jacket, with sparkling jewellery, Sharab began giving evidence on Wednesday and is due to continue on Thursday. The prince is expected to give evidence on Monday and Tuesday next week.
Sharab's witness statement describes a rarefied world where multi-million-dollar deals were discussed on the prince's yacht off the French Riviera, in exclusive hotels, during flights on private jets, and in Gaddafi's tent.
In a separate legal action in London, Prince Alwaleed is suing Forbes magazine for libel over an investigative article into his wealth. He says the magazine's valuation of his fortune at $20 billion was short of the mark by $9.6 billion. - Reuters
More Government & Laws Stories
- Saudi sets up panel on labour disputes
- Sand-dredging bill is hit by funding row
- Saudi rejects Maliki's charges on funding militants
- Independent foreign policy non-negotiable: Qatar
- Bahrain to crack down on bogus investments
- Bahrain urged to set up national plan to fight cyber crime
- Galfar ex-CEO gets 15 years' jail over bribes
- New law on family violence on the way in Bahrain
- Four blast suspects are remanded in Bahrain
- Bahrain to step up war on terror
- Norton Rose Fulbright moves London head to Dubai
- DSG ‘ready to implement Smart Dubai Strategy’
- Iraqi women protest new draft law
- Bahrain police 'face more danger in line of duty'
- Saudi names Brotherhood as terrorist group
- Qatar outraged over terror claims
- Bahrain PM condemns exploitation of children
- Qatar will not alter foreign policy: source
- Bahrain accuses Iran of fomenting trouble
- 'Put security before rights' in Bahrain: publisher
- 'Hizbollah trained Daih blast suspect'
- Key terror blast suspects named in Bahrain
- $2.6m Royal Fund for martyrs set up
- Bahrain to draw up new anti-terror laws
- GCC ROW: Qatar voices surprise over envoys pull out
- GCC tobacco tax rise ‘will fuel illicit trade’
- Saudi, UAE, Bahrain withdraw envoys from Qatar
- Bahrain explosion draws global condemnation
- GDN photographer hurt in blast is discharged
- Iran playing increasing role in Bahrain unrest