Saudi prince's wife denies Spain rape allegations

17th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

The wife of billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal denied Saturday claims her husband raped a model on a yacht in Spain in 2008, saying she was with him in France when the alleged crime took place.

"I was with my husband outside of Spain the day these allegations took place in Ibiza," Amira al-Taweel was quoted as saying by the prince's chief of staff, Kholud al-Dussari.

"Quite simply we were not there. We were together in the French city of Cannes. I was with him all the time, and we were with at least 30 people," she said.

"Hundreds of witnesses can confirm that we were in Cannes, just as there are dozens of proofs that we were not in Ibiza in 2008."

A Spanish court has reopened a probe into the allegations, according to a ruling seen by AFP on Wednesday.

Prince Alwaleed is a nephew of King Abdullah and one of world's richest men. He is being asked to respond to a complaint of sexual assault against him in August 2008 by a model who was 20 at the time.

In a statement, Alwaleed's Kingdom Holding Co. denied the allegations and said he 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.

A judge on the Balearic island of Ibiza ordered the case closed in May 2010 for lack of evidence.

But a provincial court overturned that ruling on May 24 and a court in Ibiza on July 27 reopened the proceedings to formally request assistance from the Saudi authorities to take a statement from the prince.

The prince, 56, has holdings in Citibank and Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. Forbes magazine lists him as the 26th richest person in the world with assets of $19.6 billion (14.4 billion euros).

© 2011 AFP

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