Spanish court reopens rape case against Saudi prince
MADRID — A Spanish court has reopened a probe into allegations a Saudi billionaire prince raped a model on a yacht in the Mediterranean three years ago, according to a ruling seen by AFP Wednesday.
The case concerns Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a nephew of King Abdullah and one of world’s richest men, who is being asked to respond to a complaint of sexual assault against him in August 2008 by a model who was 20 at the time.
In a statement, Alwaleed’s Kingdom Holding Company denied the allegations and said he only heard of them on Tuesday.
“These allegations are completely and utterly false. The alleged encounter simply never happened. Indeed, the events could not have happened,” said the statement published on the company’s website.
A May 24 ruling by a court in the Balearic Islands said the complainant, who was not named, believed a drug was added to her drink in a nightclub on the island after she met the prince.
“I didn’t drink much, but I think there was something in my glass,” she said in an SMS text message at 5:12am August 13 after she awoke in a bedroom of a luxury yacht, the “Turama”, of the Saudi royal family, according to testimony from a witness, Benedicto Moreno Venecia.
When she awoke she said “she felt the weight of a man on top of her who was kissing her and a strong pain in the genital region,” the ruling said.
But Alwaleed’s company denied he was anywhere near Ibiza at the time.
“Not only was Prince Alwaleed not in Ibiza at any time in 2008 but has not been in Ibiza for over a decade. Further Prince Alwaleed’s yacht, Kingdom 5KR was not in Ibiza in 2008 nor has Prince Alwaleed ever charted a yacht in Ibiza,” it said in the statement.
Alwaleed “was nowhere near Ibiza when the alleged events took place. As relevant travel records and itinerary confirm, he was in the presence of dozens of people at that time, including his family, and not in Spain.”
Kingdom Holding Company spokeswoman Heba Fatani added that “there have been many examples of people impersonating Prince Alwaleed over the Internet and elsewhere for their own purposes.”
A judge in the Balearic island of Ibiza in May 2010 had ordered the case closed for lack of evidence.
But the provincial court of the Balearic Islands overturned that ruling on May 24 and a court in Ibiza on July 27 reopened the proceedings to formally request assistance from the Saudi authorities “to take a statement from the accused,” the spokeswoman said in an email.
But the request “has not been completed yet because the judge has given a deadline to the parties to formulate in writing the questions they want to raise,” the spokeswoman said.
Once the written questions were formulated, the formal request, known as letters rogatory, would be sent to the Saudi authorities, she said.
The May ruling said Spain’s National Toxicology Institute confirmed finding semen in samples taken from her vagina and the drugs nordazepam, metronidazol and caffeine in her urine, after she filed the complaint the next day.
The prince, 56, has holdings in Citibank and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. Forbes magazine lists him as the 26th richest person in the world with assets of $19.6 billion (14.4 billion euros).