United States moves to shield secrets in Saudi spy case in Canada

US officers are intervening in a Canadian lawsuit involving a former Saudi spymaster, paperwork present, a uncommon transfer in a fancy authorized battle that threatens to blow the lid on delicate undercover work.

Saad Aljabri, a former intelligence czar exiled in Canada, is embroiled in a bitter royal feud between ousted former crown prince Mohammed bin Nayef (MBN) and present de facto ruler Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS).

Aljabri, lengthy related to covert Saudi-US counterterrorism operations, claimed final yr in a sensational American lawsuit that in 2018 MBS despatched a kill squad to assassinate him, whereas detaining two of his youngsters.

In counter lawsuits within the US and Canada, a slew of Saudi-owned corporations accused Aljabri of embezzling billions whereas engaged on covert operations beneath MBN, his former patron who’s in detention after being deposed as inheritor to the throne in a 2017 palace coup.

The authorized drama exposes the ability performs inside the secretive royal household.

However courtroom paperwork present Washington can be in a bind because it seeks to guard nationwide safety secrets and techniques with out jettisoning long-time ally Aljabri, who wants to provide the proof of his intelligence collaboration to shore up his defence.

Washington may invoke the “state secrets and techniques privilege”, which might permit it to withstand a court-ordered disclosure of delicate data within the US, authorized consultants say.

However the US has no such direct affect over Canadian courts.

In a letter to Aljabri’s lawyer seen by AFP, the Justice Division’s legal professional urged him to “postpone all filings” earlier than an Ontario courtroom till September 30 to permit Washington time to think about measures to guard its pursuits.

“Issues involving overseas relations and nationwide safety of the United States …require ‘delicate’ and ‘complicated’ judgements,” authorities legal professional Malcolm Ruby wrote within the letter dated June 29.

Whereas Washington had “no place” on the case, it was involved by “the safety of delicate nationwide safety data,” he added.

The letter was copied to Elizabeth Richards, a counsel for Canada’s Justice Division, “as a courtesy”, suggesting the US is quietly coordinating with its Canadian counterparts.

Richards and Aljabri’s lawyer didn’t reply to AFP requests for remark. Ruby redirected AFP’s question to the US Justice Department, which declined to remark.

Ruby’s letter mentioned Aljabri’s defence filings will robotically set off provisions beneath “part 38 of the Canada Proof Act”, forcing his attorneys to redact delicate data.

Authorized consultants say this provision prevents the disclosure of delicate data or paperwork with out the consent of Canada’s legal professional normal or a courtroom order.

“Canadian courts have by no means seen something like this,” mentioned a Toronto-based lawyer conversant in the case, who requested to stay nameless.

“Whereas Part 38 would possibly briefly stop the spilling of US nationwide safety secrets and techniques, it deprives Dr Aljabri from utilizing proof central to his defence,” the lawyer informed AFP.

The lawsuits are by a number of corporations, together with Sakab Saudi Holding, which courtroom filings say was established by MBN as a part of a community of entrance corporations to offer cowl for clandestine US-Saudi counterterrorism operations.

In March, Sakab accused Aljabri of embezzling $3.47 billion whereas working on the Saudi inside ministry. It urged the Massachusetts courtroom to freeze his $29 million value of Boston property belongings.

This got here after a number of Saudi-owned corporations together with Sakab sued Aljabri in Canada on comparable allegations. A Canadian courtroom subsequently introduced a worldwide freeze of Aljabri’s belongings.

To show his innocence, Aljabri says the courts would want to probe Sakab’s funds, together with how they had been used to fund applications operated with the CIA, the US National Security Agency and the US Defense Department.

In US courtroom filings in April, the Justice Division advised it was eager for an out-of-court settlement.

However there aren’t any indications the Saudi management is keen to settle.

“Aljabri is attempting to make use of these authorized avenues as a result of he’s caught,” a supply near the Saudi management informed AFP.

“It is a last-ditch effort that I do not assume will work” regardless of the danger of exposing secrets and techniques that “will embarrass the US”, he added.

In an announcement to AFP earlier this month, an official in Riyadh mentioned the “Saudi authorities isn’t concerned” within the lawsuits.

On Sunday, Human Rights Watch demanded the speedy launch of Aljabri’s two grownup youngsters, Sarah and Omar.

They had been sentenced in November respectively to greater than six, and 9 years in jail. However HRW mentioned the case was introduced “solely to create leverage towards their father”.

Denying any monetary wrongdoing, an Aljabri supply has dismissed the allegations as “blind vendetta”.

Washington is “leaping via authorized hoops to guard its nationwide safety pursuits,” the supply mentioned, including the US would do higher “brokering an out-of-court decision to this nasty royal feud that entangled Dr Saad and his youngsters”.

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/information/defence/united-states-moves-to-shield-secrets-in-saudi-spy-case-in-canada/articleshow/84824169.cms | United States strikes to protect secrets and techniques in Saudi spy case in Canada

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