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French chauffeur sues Saudi prince

PARIS, Feb 4 (AFP) – A French chauffeur has taken legal action against Saudi defence minister, Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, claiming he and several other drivers were paid under-the-table for the official’s frequent trips to France.

According to Wednesday’s edition of the Liberation newspaper, Marin Roman said he was hired without a contract in July 2001 to manage the payroll of the prince’s domestic help in France.

After discovering that most of the drivers were paid “in cash and off the books,” he demanded a signed contract for his position, but received one dated from that moment, September 2001.

Following a long battle to have that date changed, Roman said he received a letter from the Saudi embassy in June the following year firing him.He filed a lawsuit for unfair dismissal and another for illegal employment practices, his lawyer, Antoine Gillot, told AFP.

Liberation said that, if convicted, the Saudi minister could face up to two years in prison, a EUR 30,000 (USD 38,000) fine and a ban on him visiting France.

The Saudi embassy in Paris was closed Wednesday and therefore not available for comment.

According to the newspaper article, some 300 chauffeurs were deployed each time the prince visited France, where he owns three Paris mansions, a ski chalet and several villas on the Riviera.

It added that, since the legal action, several of the chauffeurs still employed have started receiving full pay slips.


                                                              Subject: France news