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Saudi company requests US court freeze ex-spy chief's $29m real estate assets

Former intelligence official Saad al-Jabri says new complaint is part of 'violent campaign' by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to silence him
Last year, Jabri filed a lawsuit against MBS, claiming a 50 person hit squad was sent to kill him in Canada.
Last year, Saad al-Jabri filed a lawsuit against MBS, claiming a 50 person hit squad was dispatched to kill him in Canada (AFP)
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Washington

A Saudi state-run company has requested a court in Massachusetts freeze $29m in luxury Boston real estate assets that it says were fraudulently obtained by Riyadh's former spy chief, Saad al-Jabri.

Sakab Saudi Holding Company alleged in a complaint filed last week that "billions of dollars of assets have been misappropriated" from the company and its affiliates under Jabri, who the company claims used "stolen and fraudulently transferred funds to acquire real estate property" in Massachusetts.

In addition to requesting the court freeze a number of properties it says are held by Jabri and his family, the complaint requests a trial by jury.

The complaint was first reported by Law360, a legal news service.

Saudi companies file Canadian lawsuit against Saad al-Jabri in embezzlement allegations
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The filing comes after a Canadian court in January ordered a freeze on Jabri's assets after ten Saudi companies filed a lawsuit against the former intelligence official.

The new complaint makes similar claims to the filing in Canada, namely that Sakab had been defrauded by Jabri, who it says misspent state funds while working at the interior ministry under former Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef.

The company says he funnelled the money, which was meant for counterterrorism activities, to himself, his family and "those close to him".

Jabri responded to the allegations on Monday, requesting in a filing that the court dismiss the complaint, claiming it was part of a campaign to silence him.

"This Action is [Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed] bin Salman's latest attack in a violent campaign to silence Defendant Dr. Saad Aljabri ("Dr. Saad"), who poses a threat to bin Salman by virtue of his close relationships with the former Crown Prince bin Nayef and the United States Government," the court document read.

The former Saudi intelligence official added that what the company had referred to as "fraudulent activity" referred to conduct regarding "Sakab's sensitive operations" that included national security programmes in partnership with the US government.

Target of MBS

Jabri, who had deep ties with the CIA and had been a key go-between for western intelligence agencies and the Saudi intelligence apparatus, worked closely under bin Nayef, who in 2017 was ousted, put under house arrest, and replaced by his cousin, Mohammed bin Salman, as the country's crown prince.

Jaabri fled the country before the palace coup and landed in Canada in 2018, where he currently resides.

A source familiar with his situation previously told MEE that Jabri's loyalty to bin Nayef and his vast knowledge of the kingdom's powerful interior ministry had made him a target of bin Salman, also known by his initials MBS.

Since deposing bin Nayef, MBS has centralised power and targeted any and all perceived foes and potential opponents. He has arrested several members of the royal family, including Prince Faisal bin Abdullah al-Saud, a son of the late King Abdullah.

Last year, Jabri filed a lawsuit against MBS, claiming a 50-person hit squad, known as the "Tiger Squad", was sent to kill him in Canada.

The incident allegedly took place in October 2018 - just two weeks after the murder of Saudi journalist and Middle East Eye columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

MEE first reported that after fleeing Riyadh, Jabri was "chased" by Saudi authorities who were willing "to do anything to get him back".

Last month, Jabri filed an amended complaint that claimed both a second assassination attempt on his life was planned by MBS and that agents working for MBS attempted to lure his daughter into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul just days before Khashoggi was killed there.