Saudi prince loses UK court battle over Gaddafi jet

Saudi billionaire, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, has lost a UK court battle over the sale of a private jet to Colonel Gaddafi.

He has been ordered to pay $10 million commission linked to the sale of the jet in a legal defeat for one of the world’s richest men.

In a written ruling which rejected the prince’s evidence on all key points, Judge Peter Smith described it as “confusing”, “unreliable”, “hopeless” and “pathetic.”

The prince was being sued by Daad Sharab, a Jordanian businesswoman who said she was not paid any commission for brokering the sale of the jet, completed in 2006 for $120 million.

The prince’s defense was that there was no agreement to pay a $10-million commission but rather that Sharab would be paid “at his discretion”. He told the court he paid her nothing because during the protracted sale she had “moved to the Libyan camp”.

The judge wrote: “At the end of the day I simply found his evidence confusing and too unreliable and Mrs. Sharab’s was more credible on any dispute of fact between them.”

It was clear, the ruling said, that the prince’s memory of some of the details was poor and that he had “made up” evidence as he went along.

“His attempts to bolster that defect in the witness box were frankly pathetic and he demonstrated great amounts of confusion,” the judge added.

In a statement, Prince Alwaleed said he would appeal against the ruling.

“Prince Alwaleed believes today’s ruling is wrong and is not an accurate analysis of all of the evidence before the court,” the statement said.

The prince, who is a significant investor in Citigroup and News International, has two more court cases to go.

One is a separate defamation case he has brought in London against the US magazine Forbes, claiming the company undervalued his wealth by more than $10 billion in its annual rich list.

And he is in a legal row with Pierre El Daher, chairman of Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation, following the deterioration of their business partnership of Lebanese Media Holdings (LMH).

Both remain at loggerheads over claims that Rotana TV owes a total of $44 million to workers who were laid off and suppliers left out of pocket.