Lawsuit alleges MBS tried to lure ex-spymaster’s family to harm

Ex-spymaster claims MBS orchestrated plot to lure his family to Saudi consulate in Istanbul where Khashoggi was killed.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman listens during a meeting with then-US President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 [Kevin Dietsch/Pool via Bloomberg]

Lawyers have filed an amended complaint in the US-based lawsuit against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) containing allegations about attempts to “lure” an ex-spymaster’s family to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and summons for two alleged members of the “Tiger” hit squad.

The amended complaint (PDF), filed on Thursday on behalf of ex-Saudi intelligence officer Saad al-Jabri, claims MBS ordered a hit squad to assassinate al-Jabri in Canada, where he now resides, in 2018, but the attempt was “thwarted” by airport security.

It further alleges that Ahmed Abdullah Fahad al-Bawardi and Bader Mueedh Saif al-Qahtani are both “Saudi” and members of “the Tiger Squad” who obtained Canadian tourist visas in May 2018 and then flew to Canada to follow through on the alleged hit order in October 2018.

Al Jazeera was unable to find contact information for al-Bawardi and al-Qahtani.

Lawyers for al-Jabri said in filings that he was viewed as a threat due to his role as a top aide to former Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who was overthrown in a 2017 palace coup and crackdown after which MBS became the country’s de facto ruler.

The suit also claims the attempt took place 13 days after members of the Tiger Squad were involved in the killing of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018.

The new complaint adds additional claims, including that MBS “sought to lure” al-Jabri’s family to the consulate “just days before his Tiger Squad killers successfully executed Jamal Khashoggi inside the very same facility”.

Al-Jabri’s children, Sarah and Omar, are both allegedly held hostage in Saudi Arabia as leverage.

Friends of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi hold posters bearing his picture as they attend an event marking the second anniversary of his assassination at the Saudi embassy in Istanbul, on October 2, 2020 [File: Ozan Kose/AFP]

Khashoggi is presumed to have been dismembered after his killing. His remains have never been found.

The complaint claimed that “the attempt to kill Dr. Saad, just like the completed killing of Jamal Khashoggi days before, was not a one-off incident, but rather the way Defendant bin Salman regularly operated in the years leading up to the fateful events of 2018.”

MBS has denied the allegations and claimed sovereign immunity in the case.

The CIA and other intelligence agencies have concluded that MBS ordered Khashoggi’s killing. He has denied knowledge of the plot to kill Khashoggi.

In September, Saudi courts overturned five death sentences, exchanging them for 20-year sentences, for five of the eight unnamed people convicted in the killing. Three others were sentenced to between seven to 10 years, according to Saudi state media.

Claims in the amended complaint are allegations not proven in court. MBS and others defendants have filed motions to dismiss the case.

Al-Jabri has been accused by 10 Saudi companies of embezzling billions in a Canadian lawsuit. Al-Jabri has denied the claims, though a Canadian court ordered his assets frozen on January 28.

Source: Al Jazeera