A Spanish court has decided to reopen an investigation into allegations a Saudi billionaire prince and nephew of King Abdullah, raped a model on a yacht in the Mediterranean three years ago, the AFP reported Wednesday.
The prince, Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, is a nephew of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, as well as being the largest individual stakeholder in Citigroup and the the second largest investor in News Corporation, with Forbes listing him as the 26th richest man in the world and the single richest in the Arab world.
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, is now being asked to respond to a complaint of sexual assault against him in August 2008 by a model who was just 20 years old at the time.
Alwaleed's Kingdom Holding Company has since then issued a statement denying the allegations and insisting the Prince had only heard of them on Tuesday.
"These allegations are completely and utterly false. The alleged encounter simply never happened. Indeed, the events could not have happened," said the statement published on the company's website.
On May 24 a court in the Balearic Islands had ruled that the complainant, who was not named, believed her drink had been spiked while she was in a nightclub on the island after she met the prince.
"I didn't drink much, but I think there was something in my glass," she said in an SMS text message at 5:12am August 13 after she awoke in a bedroom of a luxury yacht, the "Turama", of the Saudi royal family, according to testimony from a witness, Benedicto Moreno Venecia.
The complainant also said "she felt the weight of a man on top of her who was kissing her and a strong pain in the genital region," the AFP reported the ruling as saying.
But Alwaleed's company denied he was anywhere near Ibiza at the time.
"Not only was Prince Alwaleed not in Ibiza at any time in 2008 but has not been in Ibiza for over a decade. Further Prince Alwaleed's yacht, Kingdom 5KR was not in Ibiza in 2008 nor has Prince Alwaleed ever charted a yacht in Ibiza," it said in the statement.
Alwaleed "was nowhere near Ibiza when the alleged events took place. As relevant travel records and itinerary confirm, he was in the presence of dozens of people at that time, including his family, and not in Spain."
Heber Fatani, the Kingdom Holding Company spokeswoman also said "there have been many examples of people impersonating Prince Alwaleed over the Internet and elsewhere for their own purposes."
A ruling in 2010 had ordered the case closed for lack of evidence, with the Ibiza judge saying at the time that the forensic and medical tests had shown no signs of physical violence that could confirm a rape while also questioning whether the sleep-inducing chemical found in the model's body could have acted quickly enough to induce a semiconscious state between the time she left the nightclub and reached the yacht.
However, the New York Times reports that the May ruling said Spain's National Toxicology Institute had confirmed finding semen in samples taken from her vagina and the drugs nordazepam, metronidazol and caffeine in her urine, after she filed the complaint the next day.
The complainant's lawyer, Javier Beloqui, said the tests supported her claim that her drink had been spiked and that she was sexually assaulted and called on Prince Alwaleed to provide at least a DNA test.
Beloqui welcomed the decision to reopen the case. "Nobody was even questioned at the time," he said, "which is unbelievable when you consider the seriousness of the crime and the evidence that has been gathered."