Saudi royal named in Paris attack, amid reports of blackmail

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Prince Abdulaziz bin Fahd named as victim in Paris robbery and said to be blackmailed over stolen 'sensitive documents'

A Saudi royal was staying at The Four Seasons George V Hotel in Paris before being ambushed (AFP)
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Thursday 12 February 2015 20:45 UTC
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The victim of an attack on a Saudi prince in Paris on Monday was Prince Abdulaziz bin Fahd, according to French media and a well-connected source to the Saudi royal family who asked to remain anonymous. 

The prince is being blackmailed for hundreds of millions of dollars after having had a number of “sensitive documents” stolen during the robbery in Paris, the source told MEE.

Prince Abdulaziz, son of the late King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, is well known for his extravagant lifestyle and property portfolio worth several billion dollars.

While assailants reportedly stole 250,000 euros ($334,000) from the prince’s car, the seized documents were the real “prize”, according to the source, who said the Saudi royal is now being blackmailed for upwards of $330mn.

There is currently no information as to what the stolen documents contain.

A group of eight armed men, travelling in two unmarked BMWs, ambushed Prince Abdulaziz’s convoy on Sunday, as he travelled to the airport for a flight to the Spanish party island of Ibiza, French newspaper Le Point reported. 

The French daily quoted an unnamed airport source playing down the significance of the prince losing a quarter of a million euros: “250,000 euros after month and a half spend in the palace of the Champs-Elysees must represent only one week’s spending for him and his family.”

No one was injured in the attack, although a popular Twitter account that purports to leak secrets from Saudi Arabia said the prince’s personal assistant, Hatem al-Sehaim, was kidnapped in the attack and remains hostage.

File on Twitter

Translation: The attackers also managed to take the personal assistant of prince Abdul Aziz, Hatem Al Sehaim, and is believed to be held hostage

The Saudi Embassy in Paris has denied a royal family member was the victim of Sunday’s heist but confirmed an incident took place.

“The car that came under attack was a Mercedes Viano registered in Germany, which was rented by a Saudi,” the embassy said, without naming the individual. “The drive of the car was asked to get down and the attackers ran away with the car and what was inside the car.”

“We have been following the case after receiving a call from the Saudi victim,” the statement added.

The car was later recovered burnt out in northern Paris on Sunday. French police reportedly found two 500 euro notes at the scene, along with documents in Arabic and unspecified medication.

French authorities are investigating and a police official said the attack bears the hallmark of “a very organised, and especially well informed, commando group, who had information and accomplices,” according to Reuters.

“As far as I am concerned, it looks very much like it could be commandos from Eastern Europe, who we know about, who are often paid to do dirty work,” said police official Rocco Contento.

“Is it a financially motivated crime, for money? Is it ordered by another person to get hold of sensitive documents? We don’t know at this stage of the investigation.”