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Saudi prince faces jail in UK after Zain loan disagreement

Saudi prince faces jail in UK after Zain loan disagreement

The royal is alleged to have ignored a UK court ruling

A Saudi prince is facing a prison sentence in the UK for ignoring a court case against him by Kuwaiti mobile operator Zain, according to reports.

Bloomberg said a London judge ruled on Friday that former Zain Saudi Arabia chairman Prince Hussam Bin Saud Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud should be imprisoned for a year for being in contempt of court.

The sentence relates to a dispute between the prince and Zain in 2010 over a loan.

He lost a private arbitration hearing in London and was ordered to pay more than $500m but instead chose to ignore the ruling and pursued legal proceedings in the Saudi capital Riyadh. This was despite a UK court order to halt the case.

“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 was quoted as saying.

The prince’s lawyer, Yasser Almesned, said after the ruling that the case did not belong in Britain and the prince would only face jail if he travels to the UK.

“With regard to the arbitration decision issued against the prince from London, this judgment, while violating the jurisdictional rules, is inoperable in Saudi Arabia, where it requires the recognition of the Saudi courts,” he said.

Lawyers for Zain argued the prince should be sent to jail for the previous arbitration ruling to have any substance.

The company’s lawyer, Thomas Raphael, said in court documents the prince has continuously adopted a “strategy of non-response” but was “always well aware of what was going on”.

He added that personal notices could never be delivered to the royal in person due to the protection he has in the kingdom.

The $500m payment is still due.

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