Ashraf al-Qaradawi said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is a ‘psychopath’ who boasted he could kill King Salman in 2014
A former high-ranking Saudi intelligence official has described the country’s Crown Prince as a “psychopath” and a “dog” who boasts he could kill King Salman in 2014.
Bitter critics of the young crown prince have questioned his mental stability after Saudi authorities last week seized a number of palaces and yachts, believed to be worth billions of dollars, during an anti-corruption crackdown.
In testimony in a foreign court, Ashraf al-Qaradawi said the crown prince told him in 2014 he could get out of his job, quote King Salman’s phone number and call, and kill the king if he did not like what he was hearing from Khashoggi inside Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton hotel.
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Qaradawi told the foreign court in Italy: “He said to me: ‘I can get out of my job. I can call the president’s number, I can call the king’s number and say he did not like what was said, he has to go. But I do not need a reason, I can just do it.’”
“He was talking like a dog, like this psychopath,” Qaradawi added.
He was referring to a video circulated by some pro-government media outlets, which appeared to show a man who looked like the crown prince speaking with Qaradawi during a visit to an airport in 2012.
Despite criticism of the revelations, Saudi officials have described the move as an attempt to root out corruption that took advantage of an amnesty programme targeting individuals, including the former ruler of Yemen. The king himself had allowed most of the case to proceed free of cost and with no punishment.
“King Salman wants a New York-style indictment, so they have to justify the evidence and use security and finances to show [the crown prince] did it,” Qaradawi told the Italian court.
There has been speculation in Saudi media outlets that some of the assets seized may be sold off to raise funds for King Salman, 92, who has suffered back problems and has undergone colon surgery since 2015.
Saudi Arabia arrested dozens of princes, businessmen and government officials in November and began a crackdown on high-ranking officials in February in a major shakeup of the kingdom’s elite.
The first account of the investigation was published on the state-run Saudi Press Agency on Friday, saying investigators had found “$106bn” of funds and assets were spent on hundreds of construction projects.
The total of about US$107bn in deposits and realised gains had been used to fund businesses, sports and cultural institutions, it said.