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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - LONDON: A judge in Canada has denied a request to lift an asset freezing order by a former Saudi spymaster residing in Toronto.
In a ruling announced on Thursday, Ontario Superior Court Justice Cory Gilmore rejected Saad Al-Jabri’s request to lift the freeze order on hundreds of millions of dollars in assets and rebutted claims that a Canadian lawsuit alleging he is corrupt is part of a “persecution campaign” against him, CBC reported.
Gilmore also rejected evidence given by a former CIA counterterrorism expert contained within the request, while also questioning why Al-Jabri refused to answer questions surrounding allegations that he funneled security funds to himself, family members and associates.
The lawsuit alleges that Al-Jabri conspired with at least 21 other people to misappropriate $4.3 billion in funds from Saudi companies intended to support the Kingdom’s counterterrorism activities.
Gilmore ruled that the Saudi companies had grounds to sue Al-Jabri because he had not adequately explained the alleged fraudulent activity, which has been laid out in a 150-page forensic report prepared for the plaintiffs by accounting firm Deloitte.
She said Al-Jabri had “merely glossed over” hundreds of millions of dollars linked to him, members of his family and some of his associates.
She referenced the fact that Al-Jabri had not sworn an affidavit on the origins of the assets, which include bank accounts in Europe, Malta and the US, as well as a $13 million mansion in Toronto.
“Without an affidavit, the plaintiffs were left without a means to fully explore the issues (of fraud) raised by his counsel,” Gilmore said.
In a hearing in January attended by Canadian lawyers representing the Saudi companies, Gilmore granted a worldwide freezing order on Al-Jabri’s assets based on evidence contained in the report from Deloitte, as well as a voluminous affidavit from the CEO of the holding company for the Saudi companies.
However, during a hearing in February, Al-Jabri’s lawyers sought to have the freezing order, known as a Mareva injunction, lifted.
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