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

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner’s report confirms cause of death of three men at Sooke River in 2020

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen drown while ‘puddle-jumping’ in pickup truck

File
The Pacheedaht First Nation is planning a $1-million expansion to its campground in Port Renfrew. (Pixabay photo)
Expanded camping announced for Pacheedaht Campground

$1-million project is part of the B.C. Rural Economic Recovery program

Sooke Road will be down to a single lane Thursday night while crews work on a water main connection. (Pixabay stock image)
Sooke Road down to single lane for water main connection

Night work scheduled for Thursday, early Friday morning

Soloman and Zev Nagler enjoy time on the beach at Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park on a summer day. The Capital Regional District is in the process of determining whether to institute parking fees at this and eight other CRD parks. (Black Press Media file photo)
CRD parks committee rejects new Greater Victoria parking fees – again

More arguments against fee hikes, pay parking at nine parks, brought forward by committee members

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

Nanaimo-raised singer Allison Crowe with director Zack Snyder on the set of ‘Man of Steel’ in 2011. Crowe performs a cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah in the upcoming director’s cut of ‘Justice League.’ (Photo courtesy Clay Enos)
Island-raised musician records song for upcoming ‘Justice League’ film

Allison Crowe’s rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah closes out the movie

A 50-year-old man was stabbed in an altercation that started with a disagreement about physical distancing. (File photo)
Argument about physical distancing escalates to stabbing in Nanaimo

Victim, struck with coffee cup and then stabbed, suffers minor injuries; suspect arrested

A battery electric-hybrid ferry, pictured here, is expected to make its way to Vancouver Island in late 2021, says B.C. Ferries. (Submitted photo)
Hybrid ferry for Gabriola-Nanaimo route launches in shipyard in Europe

Two hybrid vessels to replace MV Quinsam by early 2022, says B.C. Ferries

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP will not trigger election as long as pandemic continues: Singh

‘“We will vote to keep the government going’

The Port of Nanaimo has signed a 50-year-agreement with DP World around short-sea shipping operations at Duke Point Terminal. (News Bulletin file photo)
Lease ‘important first step’ in $105-million Nanaimo port expansion project

Port of Nanaimo and DP World sign 50-year shipping operations agreement for Duke Point

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

Most Read