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

Supporters gather during a rally against measures taken by government and health authorities to curb the spread of COVID-19 at the Whistle Stop cafe in Mirror Alta, on Saturday May 8, 2021. The Whistle Stop was shut down by AHS for not complying with COVID-19 rules. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Police hand out tickets to dozens leaving anti-lockdown protest in Alberta

Hundreds gathered outside the Whistle Stop Café in the hamlet of Mirror, Alta.

People line up outside an immunization clinic to get their Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Edmonton, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. Alberta leads the Prairie provinces in being the first to take COVID-19 vaccine bookings for pre-teens. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta leads Prairie provinces in accepting COVID vaccine bookings for pre-teens

The province begins accepting appointments for kids as young as 12 starting today

FILE - In this March 3, 2021, file photo, a vial of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is displayed at South Shore University Hospital in Bay Shore, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine can be given to adults 30+ who can’t wait for mRNA: NACI

Panel says single shot vaccine can be especially useful for populations unable to return for second shot

Alberta’s environment department has known for years that toxins from old coal mines are contaminating populations of the province’s official animal, the bighorn sheep. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Craig Bihrl
Alberta government knew bighorn sheep contaminated with coal mine selenium, scientist says

Jeff Kneteman says Alberta Environment has known about the problem in bighorn sheep for years

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau receives his COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccination in Ottawa, Friday, April 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
75% of Canadians need 1st vaccine dose to have more normal summer: Trudeau

The country is on track to hit a major milestone on the road to COVID-19 herd immunity Tuesday, with 40% vaccinated with a 1st dose

A vial of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Alberta to stop giving first doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 shot as supply dwindles

There aren’t any confirmed shipments of AstraZeneca coming, and the province only has 8,400 doses of it left

Winnipeg Jets’ Andrew Copp (9) and Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mike Smith (41) watch an incoming shot during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, April 26, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
‘Very jealous’: Canadian teams can’t take advantage of NHL’s relaxed COVID-19 rules

League eased some tight COVID-19 health and safety protocols over the weekend for fully vaccinated clubs

File photo
Arrest made for armed robbery in Millet, Wetaskiwin RCMP continue to investigate

Wetaskiwin RCMP are investigating an armed robbery took place May 4, 2021 in Millet, Alta.

Dr. Karina Pillay, former mayor of Slave Lake, Alta., is shown at her medical clinic in Calgary on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
10 years later: Former Slave Lake mayor remembers wildfire that burned through town

Alberta announced in 2011 that an unknown arsonist had recklessly or deliberately ignited the forest fire

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman travelling from Alberta found dead in B.C. park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

Most Read