Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has been branded “capricious” and “a debt-dodger” in a British court during a hearing of a case connected to the sale of a private jet to former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
Prince Alwaleed, a nephew of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, was in the second day of a cross-examination before the London High Court on Tuesday.
Daad Sharab, a Jordanian consultant, has filed a lawsuit against the senior member of the Saudi royal family, claiming that she was not paid a promised $10 million commission for negotiating the sale of Alwaleed’s luxury aircraft to Gaddafi.
Prince Alwaleed, one of the world’s richest men with an estimated fortune of more than $20 billion, confirmed that he had used Sharab, who had close links to Gaddafi, to help strike the $120 million deal to sell the former Libyan ruler his Airbus A340. The deal was completed in 2006 after years of delay.
However, Alwaleed denied reneging on the deal to pay Sharab the commission, saying that he never agreed the figure of $10 million and in the end decided to pay Sharab nothing because she had switched her loyalties during the long negotiating process.
“She was, in my eyes, becoming overwhelmingly concerned with her own position and relationship with the Libyans. I was irritated by her attitude and her apparent attempt to play both sides against each other,” he said.
“In the Arab world stabbing in the back is very important and rules out any agreement,” the prince told the court.
He repeatedly stated that the agreement had been that he would pay Sharab an amount that would be decided at his discretion.
“She did not respect the fact that it was my discretion … Discretion means I have all the right to do whatever I want,” he said. “When she came with 10 (million dollars) I went to zero.”
Over these comments, Sharab’s lawyer, Clive Freedman asked the prince whether his discretion was supposed to be exercised reasonably, or “like the discretion of an absolute ruler who follows his every whim”.
The lawyer accused the prince of being a liar and a debt-dodger who had declined to pay Sharab for years of work on his behalf.
The Saudi royal stated he did not lie, adding that Sharab had understood that she would be paid at his discretion.
Judge Peter Smith expressed surprised at Alwaleed’s comments.
“Nobody is going to do business with you if it relies on your discretion and your discretion becomes capricious,” the judge told the Saudi prince.
“Your case then is that your discretion entitles you to not pay her anything? I thought you were an honorable man and you wouldn’t take advantage of people in this way,” he said.
The judge asked the parties to settle the case out of court, warning that otherwise one or both parties could be declared liars in his judgment.
“I cannot believe that’s in the interest of either of you,” he said.
“I despair, frankly, that two people who were obviously friends and business acquaintances are driven to a situation where for six days (in court) each one has called the other a liar.”
By Press TV
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