Saudi Prince Says Ties With Qaddafi Went Deeper Than Plane Sale

Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal
Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, right, arrives to give evidence at the High Court in London. Photographer: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg

Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the world’s 15th richest person, told a London court in a lawsuit over a $10 million commission on an airplane sale that he had a strong relationship with former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi.

Alwaleed, testifying today, said he met with Qaddafi in a Tripoli tent to ensure the 2006 sale of his private airliner was completed. Alwaleed is being sued by Jordanian businesswoman Daad Sharab over claims he failed to pay the commission on the $120 million sale of the A340.

“My relationship with Qaddafi goes much deeper than the plane,” Alwaleed, 58, told the court today.

The testimony today focused on the relationship between Alwaleed and Qaddafi, the Libyan leader who was overthrown and killed in October 2011 in a U.S.-backed rebellion. Alwaleed, founder of Riyadh-based Kingdom Holding Co., said a commission wasn’t appropriate because of his own role in the sale.

Sharab was “overwhelmingly concerned with her own position and relationship with the Libyans,” he said in a witness statement. “I was irritated by her attitude and her apparent attempt to play both sides against each other.”

Alwaleed said that while Sharab played a part in the sale, he didn’t want to “exaggerate” it.

“You are deliberately minimizing” Sharab’s role in the negotiations, Clive Freedman, her lawyer, said during cross-examination.