Malta court upholds ‘freeze’ on Saudi former spy chief’s Tigné property

Warrant of prohibitory injunction prevents sale of Tigné Point apartment, as security for €10 million claim by Saudi regime against its exiled, former spy chief Saad Al Jabri

Former spy chief: Saad bin Khalid Al Jabri
Former spy chief: Saad bin Khalid Al Jabri

A judge upheld a request for a warrant of prohibitory injunction to prevent the sale of a Tigné Point apartment and two parking spaces, which are security for a €10 million claim filed by the Saudi regime against its exiled, former spy chief Saad Al Jabri.

The saga of the Saudi Arabian government’s hunt for its former spymaster, a naturalised Maltese citizen Saad bin Khalid Al Jabri, continued in Malta’s courts with a decision upholding a Saudi company’s claim against Al Jabri.

Al Jabri is a former minister and long-time adviser to the deposed Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef, who has been living in exile in Canada since May 2017. He acquired Maltese citizenship in 2016 through the Individual Investor Programme.

In April 2021, the Sakab Saudi Holding Company filed proceedings in Malta against Al Jabri and his Cayman Islands company Ten Leaves Management, to prevent them from selling his Sliema sixth-floor luxury apartment.

Sakab is a Saudi government company which claims Al Jabri used offshore structures to hide illicit profits for him to enrich his family, and purchase properties around the world.

Al Jabri is accused of using Sakab as the vehicle to distribute €6 billion to other commercial entities between 2008 and 2017, as well funnelled to other members of the Sakab group “off the books” and not declared in the official accounts.

Injunction case

Sakab is attempting to secure €10 million in damages from Al Jabri, demanding a freeze on the sale of the Tigné Point apartment as “an expectation of damages” against Al Jabri’s estate.

Sakab claims Al Jabri’s wealth is the result “of criminal acts, misleading and fraudulent, intended to allow him to steal and misappropriate assets or money belonging to the plaintiff company in breach of fiduciary obligations.”

Detailed explanations and affidavits bolstered Sakab’s request, as well as an asset freeze against Al Jabri by the Ontario Superior Court in Canada.

Sakab’s representative told the Maltese court that the alleged fraud committed by Aljabri was “well in excess of the €10 million being secured by the current warrant” but had limited themselves to this amount in view of the defendant’s property in Malta.

Al Jabri obtained Maltese citizenship through the IIP, the passport scheme for the world’s global elite.

Al Jabri has rebutted the allegations against him as frivolous and vexatious, claiming that he was being threatened and hunted in an attempt by the company’s owners, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman – popular known as MBS – to silence him.

Al Jabri informed the Maltese courts that two his children are still held in custody in Saudi Arabia, as part of Bin Salman’s campaign to punish him. Al Jabri has also alleged he was recently the target of an assassination squad sent to Canada by Bin Salman.

Al Jabri said the payments he had received were authorised by Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef and that this court application was just a part of a larger effort by the current Crown Prince to have him return to Saudi Arabia so that he can be killed.

In addition, Al Jabri said the Tigné Point property was acquired only after the Maltese authorities carried out a due diligence exercise as part of his citizenship application.

Madam Justice Vella Cuschieri observed that Sakab was claiming that the defendant had defrauded it of large amounts of money. “The defendant does not deny receiving these amounts, but insists that he had been authorised to receive them. This is precisely what is being argued by the defendant in the proceedings in Canada.”

She ruled that as long as the plaintiff company was insisting that it had been defrauded and that it was not true that the transfer of funds to the defendant had been authorised, it had the prima facie right required by law.

In view of the considerable amount involved, “far in excess of that secured by this injunction” – which would fall due if the court proceedings against him succeed – the court upheld the request for the warrant of prohibitory injunction as required, also ordering costs to be borne by Al Jabri.

Lawyers Louis Cassar Pullicino, Clement Mifsud Bonnici and Luisa Cassar Pullicino appeared for Sakab Saudi Holding Company, while lawyers Edward Debono and Karl Micallef represented Al Jabri in the proceedings.