The LIV Golf boss accused of illegal detention

© Getty Images Sport – Alex Livesey / Stringer

The governor of the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF), Yasir Al-Rumayyan, who also heads LIV Golf, is involved in a legal front in Canada, according to the American media The Athletic. The lawsuit in question was filed in Canada and accuses Al-Rumayyan of participating in the harassment of the family of a regime dissident, including charges of illegal detention.

Yasir Al-Rumayyan, news

The lawsuit has been filed by Saad Aljabri, a former major general in the Saudi army who held positions in the state administration and was a minister and advisor to Mohammed Bin Nayef, who was once named heir to the throne before being stripped of that title during a purge in the royal family in 2017.

This purge resulted in the appointment of Mohammed Bin Salman as successor and current leader, given the deteriorating health of King Salman Bin Abdulaziz. Mohammed Bin Salman is also known for his role in Saudi Arabia’s sports expansion as part of its economic diversification strategy.

One of the targets of that purge in 2017 was Aljabri, who went into exile in Canada that same year. Since then, the Saudi kingdom has unsuccessfully attempted to extradite him on corruption charges and, according to Aljabri’s claims, has attempted to assassinate him on several occasions.

The lawsuit maintains that his family members have been the victims of these attempts. Aljabri accuses the country of having detained two of his children in 2020 for security reasons, who were planning to study in the United States.

One of his children, Omar, was sentenced to nine years in prison, while another, Sarah, received a sentence of almost seven years in a trial in which it is alleged that they were denied fundamental rights, such as physical presence at hearings.

or cross-examination of witnesses. Furthermore, it is alleged that they have not been allowed contact with them since their imprisonment. Part of Aljabri’s accusations are directed towards Yasir Al-Rumayyan, a close member of Mohammed Bin Salmán and president of Newcastle United, a football team owned by the PIF.

Aljabri points to him as one of the alleged orchestrators of a campaign that includes illegal detention, kidnapping, illegal appropriation and expropriation of part of his assets, including companies valued at hundreds of millions of dollars that, according to the accusation, have ended up in the hands of the PIF.

. Al-Rumayyan has invoked diplomatic immunity for himself as a representative of a Saudi public entity, based on the Vienna Convention and US law, arguing that US courts do not have jurisdiction over representatives of other states.

However, a federal judge had already denied this immunity in one of the previous litigations with the PGA. These developments come as Al-Rumayyan and PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan are finalizing the operating framework for elite golf going forward, in which LIV Golf will play an important role.

Although the deal was initially expected to be ready by December 31, the deadline was postponed. Under the June pre-agreement, both organizations, together with the DP World Tour, would create a for-profit entity that would consolidate their interests and have Al-Rumayyan as the main figure, unless a court considered this to be interference. foreigner in a fundamental institution for American sports.

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