THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Ex-Saudi spy urges Canadian court to free up assets says he’s victim of death plot

Saad Aljabri claims he fears for his life

A former top intelligence agent who alleges Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler sent a hit squad to Canada to kill him urged a court on Friday to free up his assets, saying the judge who froze them wasn’t given all the relevant facts.

In submissions before Ontario Superior Court, lawyers for Saad Aljabri argued the alleged assassination plot and other key facts should have been disclosed at a secret hearing last month.

“They simply repeated their own side of the story,” lawyer Paul Le Vay told Justice Cory Gilmore. “They did not disclose material facts and available defences. This abject and deliberate failure matters greatly.”

A group of Saudi companies, which allege Aljabri embezzled billions of dollars before fleeing the kingdom, obtained an injunction in Superior Court on Jan. 22 that froze his assets worldwide. The hearing was done without notice to Aljabri, who therefore had no way of giving his side of the story.

In court on Friday, his lawyers argued the plaintiffs failed to reveal that Saudi Arabia set up the plaintiff companies for counterterrorism purposes, and they are now controlled by Mohammed bin Salman, who took power in a palace coup in May 2017.

“Bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, controls this litigation and does so for an ulterior purpose,” Le Vay said.

The lawyers told Gilmore that Aljabri, who spent decades in Saudi intelligence and now lives in Toronto, has filed suit in the U.S. in which he alleges a long-standing and ongoing bin Salman plot to kill him.

Part of the animosity, Aljabri argues, is because he fingered bin Salman as the mastermind behind the dismemberment and killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi embassy in Turkey in 2018.

“Bin Salman considers Saad a “significant threat” because of the former spy’s close ties with U.S. intelligence and the “highly sensitive information” he has, his lawyers said.

Saudi authorities have also disappeared two of his children as part of the campaign, court heard.

For their part, the companies maintain this is simply a case of large-scale corporate fraud, and that Aljabri’s U.S. lawsuit is simply a “public relations campaign” and an attempt at political deflection from his crime.

But Aljabri’s lawyers said the plaintiffs failed to disclose how bin Salman had threatened Aljabri. Nor did they let on that Interpol had rescinded a “red notice” for Aljabri issued at Saudi Arabia’s request on the basis that it was “politically motivated.”

“None of this was brought to your attention,” Le Vay told Gilmore.

Aljabri fears for his life at the hands of bin Salman and has been under RCMP protection, his lawyers said. The plot against him failed because Canadian border officials intercepted the bin Salman hit squad, Aljabri alleges in his unproven American lawsuit.

“The plaintiffs provide no explanation of what the U.S. litigation is about,” Le Vay said. “It is a story vastly different from how he is portrayed by (them).”

The Saudi Arabian embassy in Ottawa did not respond to a request for comment.

The hearing continues.

READ MORE: UBC grad and prominent Saudi women’s rights activist released

READ MORE: Saudi court issues final verdicts in Khashoggi killing

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

spy

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 80+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

The Alberni Valley’s Emergency Operations Centre is located around the corner and below the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District office. (AV NEWS FILE PHOTO)
Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District tests new mobile alert system

Residents can still sign up for free Voyent Alert! emergency messaging

Crews respond to a structure fire in the 6000 block of Renton Road in Cherry Creek on Saturday, Feb. 27. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Workshop destroyed in Cherry Creek fire

Crews stayed on scene overnight fighting ‘stubborn’ blaze

(NEWS FILE PHOTO)
Tax error in 2020 means lower rate for residents in 2021

Alberni’s taxation for regional library accidently written down twice

Part of a new housing development proposal for the former Alberni District Secondary School site. (SCREENSHOT)
Housing gap widens in Port Alberni

Vancouver Island city suffers from ‘missing middle’ to housing density

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hills using a homemade trip camera. Vancouver Island is home to approximately 800 cougars, which makes up about a quarter of the total population in B.C. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hill using a homemade trip camera. Schroyen presents Animal Signs: The Essence of Animal Communication on Nov. 30. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Declining Vancouver Island cougar populations linked to wolves

Large carnivore specialist says human development still plays biggest role on cougar numbers

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Police have identified the vehicle involved in the Feb. 14 hit-and-run in Chemainus and are continuing to investigate. (Black Press Media files)
Police seize and identify suspect vehicle in hit-and-run

Investigation into death expected to be lengthy and involved

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

Most Read