Newcastle United’s chairman, Yasir al-Rumayyan, is facing a £58m lawsuit for allegedly “having carried out the instructions” of Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman, with “malicious intent”, it has been reported. The claims, which are said to be made in legal papers sent to Rumayyan at several locations, including at St James’ Park, also allege that he acted with the aim of “harming, silencing and ultimately destroying” the family of Dr Saad Aljabri, the kingdom’s former intelligence chief. According to the Athletic, the papers have asked a court for Rumayyan, who is also the chairman of LIV Golf, to be added to an existing case, and for a new claim to be brought against him and the others. The claimants also allege Rumayyan was “directly involved” in a three-and-a-half-year campaign between June 2017 and January 2021 to pursue the family of Aljabri, who is a former top aide to Prince Mohammed bin Nayef. Nayef was deposed as heir to the Saudi throne by Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2017 and has remained in detention since 2020. Aljabri now lives in Canada having fled the kingdom seven years ago. If the case is given permission to go ahead in the Canadian courts, it is reported the Aljabri family will be claiming for £58m in damages. Rumayyan is also the governor of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), the state’s sovereign wealth fund that acquired an 80% stake in Newcastle in October 2021. That takeover only went ahead after the Premier League said it had received what the league described as “legally binding assurances” that the kingdom would not control the club. However, last year, the Saudis argued that Rumayyan and PIF should be protected from giving evidence in a LIV Golf Series legal case against the PGA Tour due to sovereign immunity laws. Newcastle have said that any questions or queries regarding this matter should be referred to PIF, which along with the Saudi government has been approached for comment.
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