By Jo Shelley, CNN
Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) is a “psychopath,” who “poses a threat to his people, to the Americans and to the planet,” a former top Saudi intelligence official who is now living in exile in Canada has said.
In an interview on CBS News program “60 Minutes,” which aired Sunday, Saad Aljabri described watching a video recording of a meeting that he alleged took place in 2014 between MBS and his cousin, Mohammed bin Nayef (MBN), who was then Saudi Arabia’s head of intelligence. “He [MBS] told him [MBN], I want to assassinate King Abdullah. I get a poison ring from Russia. It’s enough for me just to shake hands with him and he will be done,” Aljabri said. “That what he say. Whether he’s just bragging or, but he said that and we took it seriously.”
The crown prince’s father, King Salman, ascended to the throne in January 2015 after his half brother, King Abdullah, died at age 90.
MBS became crown prince following a power struggle with his cousin, Mohammed bin Nayef, who was deposed and has been under house arrest since June 2017. Aljabri worked closely with MBN for years as the kingdom’s number two intelligence official.
During the interview, Aljabri also repeated allegations that MBS, the young de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, plotted to send a hit squad to murder him in Canada three years ago, and has imprisoned two of Aljabri’s children, Sarah and Omar, in Saudi Arabia.
Aljabri told CBS he was warned in 2018 that a Saudi hit team was heading to Canada to kill him. He said the warning came days after journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018. Aljabri says he was told, “… don’t be in a proximity of any Saudi mission in Canada. Don’t go to the consulate. Don’t go to the embassy. I said why? Said, they dismembered the guy, they kill him. You are on the top of the list.”
The alleged murder plot has been reported on before.
In a statement to “60 Minutes,” a Canadian government spokesperson said, “While we cannot comment on specific allegations currently before the courts, we are aware of incidents in which foreign actors have attempted to monitor, intimidate or threaten Canadians and those living in Canada.”
CBS says Saudi Arabia declined an interview, but the kingdom’s embassy in Washington issued a statement, describing Aljabri as a “discredited” former government official.
“Saad Aljabri is a discredited former government official with a long history of fabricating and creating distractions to hide the financial crimes he committed, which amount to billions of dollars, to furnish a lavish life-style for himself and his family,” the statement read. “He has not denied his crimes; in fact, he implies that stealing was acceptable at the time. But it wasn’t acceptable nor legal then, and it isn’t now.”
A group of Saudi companies owned by the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, which the prince controls, are suing Aljabri in the US and Canada, claiming he stole money from the counterterrorism budget. Aljabri denied those claims in the interview.
He says he’s speaking out now for his two children who are imprisoned in Saudi Arabia, saying, “I am appealing to the American people and to the American administration to help me to release those children and to restore their life.”
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