Saudi prince loses Gaddafi jet case

2013-07-31 15:57

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

London - A billionaire Saudi prince was ordered by a British court on Wednesday to pay a $10m commission linked to the sale of a private jet to Libya's Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, in a humiliating legal defeat for one of the world's richest men.

The High Court judgment was scathing about Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a nephew of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, who testified in person for two days at the trial earlier this month.

Judge Peter Smith rejected the prince's evidence on all key points in the dispute, describing it in his written ruling as "confusing", "unreliable", "hopeless" and "pathetic".

The prince was being sued by Daad Sharab, a Jordanian businesswoman who said she was not paid any commission for brokering the sale of the jet, which was completed in 2006 for $120m.

The prince's defence was that there was no agreement to pay a $10m commission but rather that Sharab would be paid "at his discretion". He told the court he paid her nothing because during the protracted sale she had "moved to the Libyan camp".

The judge wrote: "At the end of the day I simply found his evidence confusing and too unreliable and Mrs Sharab's was more credible on any dispute of fact between them."

Relief

It was clear, the ruling said, that the prince's memory of some of the details was poor and that he had "made up" evidence as he went along.

"His attempts to bolster that defect in the witness box were frankly pathetic and he demonstrated great amounts of confusion," the judge added.

In a statement, Prince Alwaleed said he would appeal against the ruling.

"Prince Alwaleed believes today's ruling is wrong and is not an accurate analysis of all of the evidence before the court," the statement said.

Sharab said in a statement of her own she was relieved after a stressful seven years of litigation.

"It will be extremely disappointing if the prince fails to accept the decision of this court and yet again attempts to delay payment of the agreed fee of $10m," she said.

Hostile public grilling

The prince is number 26 on the Forbes global ranking of billionaires. The US magazine estimates his fortune at $20bn while he says the figure is closer to $30bn.

Through his Kingdom Holding Company, the prince owns large stakes in Citigroup, News Corp and Apple, among other companies. He is also the owner or part-owner of luxury hotels including the Plaza in New York, the Savoy in London and the George V in Paris.

His cross-examination in court is likely to have been the most hostile public grilling of a senior Saudi royal. The judge wrote that Sharab's lawyer had "completely demolished" the prince on one of the most important points at issue.

The Airbus jet at the heart of the dispute has a history as colourful as its customised interior, which boasted a jacuzzi, a king-size bed and 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 it was shown off as a trophy by rebels who toppled Gaddafi in 2011 and posed for the press on its silver-coloured leather sofas.

Read more on:    saudi arabia

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
4 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.