NEWCASTLE chairman Yasir Al-Rumayyan is set to be hit by a £59million lawsuit after being accused of orchestrating a “malicious” campaign against a dissident former Saudi spy chief.
Former intelligence chief Dr Saad Aljabri has claimed the Toon boss acted under the direct instructions of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman in a bid to “destroy” him.
Legal papers lodged at a Canadian court have asked for Al-Rumayyan to be added to an ongoing case in a move that puts Newcastle’s Saudi takeover under the spotlight once again.
In his brief to the court, Aljabri – a former top aide to Prince Mohammed bin Nayef who was deposed by MBS in a palace coup in 2017 – alleges Al-Rumayyan of being “directly” involved in a campaign against him.
Aljabri, who fled his homeland in 2017, has been credited by western intelligence officials for his work as a Saudi informant to the Five Eyes spy group which includes the UK.
He has been accused by a collection of Saudi-owned firms of embezzling hundreds of millions of dollars of state funds while in his previous intelligence role, claims he strongly denies.
But in response he is now claiming that Al-Rumayyan was one of the orchestrators of a campaign which included “wrongful kidnapping and detention”, “misappropriation of property” and the “expropriation” of companies worth millions of dollars, decisions taken for “political reasons” and at the service of MBS.
Legal papers were served on Al-Rumayyan at multiple high-profile locations including St James’ Park last week, according to The Athletic.
The revelation could cause further embarrassment for Prem chiefs after the £300m PIF takeover of Newcastle was waved through when the League said it had received “legally binding assurances” that Saudi Arabia’s government would not be in control of the club.
Last year, as part of a US court case surrounding the LIV golf tour, lawyers for Al-Rumayyan claimed immunity from giving evidence because he was “a sitting minister of the government” while PIF was a “sovereign instrument” of the state.
In 2019, Aljabri claimed a six-man Saudi “hit squad” had been dispatched to murder him in Canada. All six were said to have been deported on landing.
In response to the allegations, the Saudi embassy in Washington DC declared Aljabri had a “long history of fabricating and creating distractions”.
But his son and daughter were arrested at their Riyadh home in 2020 and subsequently jailed on charges of financial crimes and conspiracy to escape the kingdom unlawfully.
They remain imprisoned and in their application to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, the Aljabri family are seeking permission to bring a claim for damages for “abuse of process” and “unlawful means conspiracy” against defendants including PIF and Al-Rumayyan.
The suit alleges that “meetings and discussions” took place between July and September 2017 between MBS and Al-Rumayyan “to discuss how to create pressure on Aljabri.”
This led to the subsequent civil claims led by PIF.
Newcastle have been approached for comment.