A former Saudi intelligence official has alleged that the kingdom’s ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, ordered his assassination and has taken his children hostage.
Saad Aljabri, who was a top official in Saudi Arabia’s government, claimed the Crown Prince plotted to kill him just weeks after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the prominent Saudi journalist, in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.
The Crown Prince is widely thought to have orchestrated the gruesome murder of Khashoggi.
Aljabri alleges the Crown Prince sent a hit squad to Canada to kill him in 2018 just days after, and has since imprisoned two of his children, Sarah and Omar, in an attempt to force him to return.
The former intelligence official fled to Canada from Saudi Arabia in 2017 when he was accused of financial crimes along with the kingdom’s former crown prince, Mohammed bin Nayef.
Bin Nayef was deposed in 2017 and replaced by his cousin, Mohammed bin Salman, who accused Nayef and Aljabri of stealing billions of dollars from Saudi companies.
It comes just weeks after Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), headed by the Crown Prince, led a £305 million takeover of premier league football club Newcastle United.
In 2020, a Saudi court jailed two of Saad Aljabri’s adult children, Sarah and Omar on charges of money laundering and conspiracy to escape the kingdom unlawfully, a move seen by many as retaliation for Aljabri’s alleged crimes.
It came after Aljabri filed a federal lawsuit against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, alleging the royal tried to trap and kill him in the US and Canada.
Aljabri’s lawsuit claims a ‘kill team’ was dispatched for him in Canada just two weeks after the same squad killed Khashoggi in October 2018 but that the effort was thwarted by Canadian border security officials.
But Aljabri himself is currently the subject of a lawsuit from several Saudi firms. The state-linked company Sakab Saudi Holding accused Aljabri in March of embezzling $3.47 billion while working at the Ministry of Interior under former Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef.
The suit came weeks after multiple state-owned companies sued Aljabri in Toronto on similar allegations, prompting a Canadian court to freeze Aljabri’s assets.
Aljabri to flee the country after Mohammed bin Nayef was ousted as crown prince in 2017 by his cousin Mohammed bin Salman. Nayef currently resides in a Saudi prison.
An interview between Aljabri and CBS journalist Scott Pelley concerning the alleged assassination attempt is set to be broadcast on Sunday October 24.
The Saudi embassy in Washington issued a statement to CBS in response to the interview, which read: ‘Saad Aljabri is a discredited former government official with a long history of fabricating and creating distractions to hide the financial crimes he committed, which amount to billions of dollars, to furnish a lavish life-style for himself and his family.
‘He has not denied his crimes; in fact he implies that stealing was acceptable at the time. But it wasn’t acceptable nor legal then, and it isn’t now.’