As fighting among former and present members of Saudi government intensifies, a number of Saudi state-owned companies sue Saad al-Jabri, the kingdom’s former top intelligence officer, in a Canadian court, accusing him of embezzling billions of dollars.
The former top intelligence agent had already lodged a lawsuit in a US court accusing the kingdom’s crown prince and de facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) of plotting to assassinate him.
According to a report published by the Wall Street Journal, ten companies owned by Tahakom Investments Co., a subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, have taken an apparent retributory measure against Jabri in Ontario Superior Court, alleging he embezzled billions of dollars.
Jabri was an aide to former Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, known as MBN, who was replaced as heir to the throne by King Salman in favor of his son, MBS, in a 2017 palace coup.
Reuters, citing four people with knowledge of the matter, reported last June that Jabri has access to sensitive information that MBS fears could be compromising.
The powerful former Saudi intelligence officer, who has lived in Canada since late 2017, said in a lawsuit filed in a US federal court in the District of Columbia last August that MBS had sent a hit squad to Canada in 2018 to kill him but that the effort was foiled by Canadian authorities.
Douglas London, a former senior CIA operations officer, said back then that he found the idea of an assassination attempt plausible, but said it was also possible that members of the so-called “Tiger” hit squad sought to place Jabri under surveillance.
“I don’t rule out the possibility that MBS wanted to kill [Jabri], but it’s just as likely, if not more so, that … MBS wanted to put [Jabri] under observation, information from which might provide insight on his contacts and activities,” he commented at the time.
The purported assassination attempt took place less than two weeks after exiled Saudi dissident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi was brutally murdered at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.
Several intelligence agencies, including the CIA, have reportedly concluded that MBS ordered Khashoggi’s killing. Riyadh has denied the accusations in return.
Saudi Arabia’s human rights record has come under intense scrutiny following the murder of the Saudi journalist.
The lawsuit against Jabri highlights the clash at the top levels of the Riyadh regime, and turns the spotlight on the opaque business dealings of the House of Saud.