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The New Arab Staff

Saudi Arabia to review MbS foundation Misk over suspected scandals: report

The two lawsuits have placed Misk, crucial in MbS's campaign, under scrutiny. [Getty]

Date of publication: 8 September, 2020

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Two lawsuits have implicitly and explicitly made a mention of the MbS-affiliated foundation, prompting a review by the Kingdom, a report said.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's flagship charitable foundation has come under review by the kingdom's leadership, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.

Citing a Saudi official, the FT said the review of Misk was ordered by the kingdom after a US lawsuit made a mention of the foundation, along with one of its senior officials.

The November lawsuit accused two former Twitter employees and a third man of spying on social media users on behalf of the Kingdom, tying them to an unnamed organisation, beleived by FT to be Misk.

In a seperate lawsuit filed in August, Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Foundation (Misk) and its former secretary-general Bader al-Asaker were named as defendants alongside Prince Mohammed in a civil lawsuit filed by ex-spy Saad Al-jabri, the report said.

Al-Jabri, a former intelligence officer, was targeted by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman – known as MbS – due to his knowledge of the crown prince and close relationship with Washington, an unproven lawsuit claimed.

Al-Jabri's lawsuit, filed in the US, alleged that Misk was involved in recruiting the accused hit-squad that were allegedly tasked with killing Al-Jabri.

"It [the allegations in the lawsuits] has brought scrutiny to something that has done phenomenal things," the Saudi official, who requested anonymity, was quoted as saying.

The official said the review was ongoing, while Riyadh has not issued a response to either either lawsuit.

Misk has played a prominent role in MbS's campaign to expand his brand internationally, helping the Kingdom secured partnerships with global entities including the UN, The Gates Foundation, Bloomberg, Harvard University and General Electric, according to the FT.

While the November lawsuit featured in the FT report does not explicitly name Misk, the allegations have reportedly placed the foundation, under close examination.

The lawsuit refers to "Foreign Official-1" who was secretary-general of "Organization No 1" that was founded by a Saudi royal. The description, according to the FT, matches Misk.

Read also: Under guise of anti-corruption sting, Saudi crown prince finds new royal targets

The lawsuit states that defendants accused of spying for Riyadh in 2014 and 2015 had interactions with Foreign Official-1, and received "gifts, cash payments and promises of future employment" in exchange for the information of social media users.

A Saudi analyst familiar with the foundation's work told FT that "people aren't going to want the association with these issues, it could stop some of the global partnerships."

Misk's affiliation to MbS prompted the Gates Foundation and Harvard to cut ties with the charity after journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi embassy in Istanbul.

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