Saudi Prince Held In Contempt of Court; Fined $100 a Day
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) _ A federal judge ruled Saudi Arabian Prince Faisal Yazid Abdullah Al-Saud in contempt of court Monday and imposed a $100-a-day fine for failing to explain why he hasn’t reimbursed a businessman for $166,000 in bounced checks.
A lawyer for Manassas businessman Chawky B. Jabaly said the sum is a pittance for the prince but a financial catastrophe for his client, who fears he will be killed if he goes to the prince’s palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to collect.
″It’s a David-Goliath sort of thing,″ Washington lawyer Joseph Drennan said. ″These princes can do whatever they want. There have been cases in the past where naive creditors have gone over there trying to collect debts and suffered the consequences.″
The order by U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis called the prince’s failure to show up for a July 16 deposition on the case ″inexcusable″ and noted that the court had tried to reach him via fax, the Saudi embassy and his post office box in Riyadh.
The daily fines begin Tuesday and will continue until the prince gives his deposition, the order said.
The Saudi embassy and Saleem Samaan, the prince’s lawyer in Plymouth, Mich., did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
Drennan said that in 1985 the prince recruited Jabaly to sell telecommunications equipment and help him set up a mobile telephone company.
The prince paid Jabaly with two checks totalling $166,000, the lawyer said, and they bounced.
Jabaly ″worked over there for a year and a half and got paid with some bad paper,″ Drennan said. ″The joke’s on him.″
Jabaly now works for an insurance company.
″My client is not well off and has four children,″ Drennan said. ″It caused some considerable hardship.″
Jabaly sued the prince and in February 1990, won a punitive civil judgment of more than $240,000.