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Spain reopens Saudi prince’s rape case

Associated Press / September 15, 2011

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MADRID - Spain has reopened a rape probe against a Saudi prince who is one of the world’s richest people, looking again at allegations he drugged and sexually assaulted a young model on a yacht on the Mediterranean island of Ibiza, according to court papers.

The alleged assault by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, 56, reportedly took place on Aug. 13, 2008, but an investigating magistrate on the popular resort island closed the case last year on grounds of insufficient evidence.

However, a higher provincial court in the Balearic Islands, which include Ibiza, accepted an appeal by the plaintiff and issued an order this year instructing the same magistrate to resume the probe and question the prince as a suspect.

The order said the investigating judge, Carmen Martin Montero, had not questioned Alwaleed in her initial probe. It said tests done by a forensic lab that answers to the Spanish Justice Ministry had found semen in the woman, then 20, and traces of a sedative called nordazepam.

Alwaleed is a leading investor in both Citigroup and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. media empire and held 26th place on this year’s Forbes list of the world’s richest people, with a fortune estimated at $19.6 billion.

The prince’s investment firm, Kingdom Holding Company, issued a statement denying the accusations. It said the prince was not even in Ibiza in August 2008 and has not been on the island for than a decade. In fact, it said he had not even heard about the allegations until Tuesday, through a press query.

The lawyer for the woman, Javier Beloqui, said if the prince is innocent he should come to Spain to testify or provide DNA for police to test against the DNA found in the woman.

“If he is innocent, it is all over and if not, he will be charged with rape,’’ Beloqui said.

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