A former Zain Saudi Arabia chair could be heading to prison in the UK.
A London judge last week said Prince Hussam Bin Saud Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, a former Zain Saudi Arabia chair, should be sent to prison for a year for violating contempt laws – the latest move in a legal drama over a loan agreement worth several hundred million dollars.
The saga began in 2010, when a dispute between Kuwait-based operator Zain and Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud led to a private arbitration hearing in London, which Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud lost when he was ordered to pay US$500 million. However, he pursued separate legal proceeedings in Saudi Arabia, ignoring UK court orders to stop.
Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud did not attend last week’s hearing.
“Prince Hussam has simply decided that he does not wish to engage with the English court in any way, shape or form,” Judge Richard Jacobs said at the hearing, as reported by Bloomberg.
Bloomberg also reported one of Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s Saudi lawyers, Yasser Almesned, as saying after the ruling that the dispute doesn’t belong in Britain.
Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud would only go to jail if he were in the UK.
Almesned also said a Riyadh court “issued its judgment in favour of Prince Hussam.”
Lawyers for Zain had argued for the prince to be sent to jail.
The 2010 loan agreement was signed in the name of Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud’s Saudi Plastic Factory. But an arbitration tribunal found the prince was contracting individually, according to one of Zain’s lawyers. He added the amount due has not been paid.