Kingdom Holding Company, the Riyadh-based investment company controlled by Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal of Saudi Arabia, has denied reports of an alleged encounter between the prince and a woman in Ibiza in August 2008, calling the accusations “completely and utterly false”.
The denial came after the New York Times reported on Tuesday that a Spanish judge has reopened an abandoned sexual-assault case against Prince Al Waleed, reviving accusations that he raped a 20-year-old model on a luxury yacht in the Spanish Mediterranean in August 2008.
'Alleged encounter never happened'
In a media statement issued on Wednesday, Heba Fatani, a spokeswoman for Prince Al Waleed's investment arm, said: "The alleged encounter simply never happened… Not only was Prince Al Waleed not in Ibiza at any time in 2008 but has not been in Ibiza for over a decade. Further, Prince Al Waleed's yacht, Kingdom 5KR was not in Ibiza in 2008 nor has Prince Al Waleed ever charted a yacht in Ibiza.”
According to the New York Times report, the accuser did not go public, and the original complaint appears to have remained largely unknown. The case was closed in July 2010 “for what a judge on the Mediterranean resort island of Ibiza called a lack of evidence. But on appeal, a Spanish provincial court for the Balearic Islands, which has jurisdiction over Ibiza, ordered the judge to resume investigating and to summon the prince to appear. The provincial court said the judge, Carmen Martin Montero, was on vacation and could not be reached for comment,” the report said.
Model said prince raped her
According to the Times, the model, whose lawyer has identified her by only her middle name, Soraya, filed a police complaint in August 2008, saying the prince had raped her on the yacht after she was drugged. She said she had been invited to the yacht at an Ibiza nightclub, the report said. According to a summary of a provincial court's order to reopen the case, medical tests conducted by departments of Spain's National Institute of Toxicology and Forensic Science turned up traces of semen and a sleep-inducing chemical, nordazepam, in her urine.
In the 2010 decision to close the case, the Ibiza judge said the forensic and medical tests had shown no signs of physical violence that could confirm a rape, the Times reported. The judge also questioned whether the sleep-inducing chemical found in the model's body could have acted swiftly enough to induce a semiconscious state between the time she left the nightclub and reached the yacht. Her lawyer, Javier Beloqui, told the Times that the tests supported her claim that her drink had been spiked and that she was sexually assaulted.
In her statement, Heba denied that the Prince vacationed in Spanish waters. “[Prince Al Waleed] was nowhere near Ibiza when the alleged events took place. As relevant travel records and itinerary confirm, he was in the presence of dozens of people at that time, including his family, and not in Spain. The first time Prince Al Waleed heard about these false allegations was yesterday [Tuesday], when a representative received a call from the press and today when the false information appeared in the news. Further, neither His Royal Highness nor his lawyers were informed or aware of any complaint filed in Ibiza in 2008 or that the same complaint was dismissed in 2010,” the Kingdom Holding statement said.
"There have been many examples of people impersonating Prince Al Waleed over the internet and elsewhere for their own purposes. While one can suppose a young person in Ibiza might be fooled by such a fraud, we would have expected more from the New York Times," Heba said in the statement.
Prince Al Waleed is the largest individual stakeholder in Citigroup and, among his other major holdings, is the second-largest investor in News Corp. Forbes valued his fortune this year at $19.4 billion. On Tuesday, he announced a tie up with another American media mogul’s empire – Bloomberg LP – with the launch of a 24-hour international Arabic news channel, which will air from December 12 next year. Alarab will be dedicated to Arabic-speaking viewers around the world and will be managed by Jamal A. Khashoggi, a well-known Saudi journalist.