Mohammed bin Salman: Saudi crown prince once spoke of killing former monarch, ex-security chief claims

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman once boasted that he could kill then-King Abdullah, a former senior security official has alleged.

Saad al-Jabri, who lives in exile in Canada, used an interview with US media to try to put pressure on the 36-year-old crown prince as two of his adult children remain in detention in Saudi Arabia.

During an interview on CBS News’ 60 Minutes, the former Saudi security official claimed that Prince Mohammed spoke about killing the late king in 2014.

At the time, Prince Mohammed held no senior role in government but was serving as gatekeeper to the royal court of his father, who was at the time heir to the throne.

King Salman ascended to the throne in January 2015 after his half-brother, King Abdullah, died of natural causes.

Mr al-Jabri, who helped oversee joint counter-terrorism efforts with the United States, also warned Prince Mohammed that he has recorded a video that reveals even more royal secrets – as well as those of the US.

He showed a short, silent clip to 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley before adding that the full video could be released if he was killed.

Mr al-Jabri’s allegations are the latest attempt to pressure Prince Mohammed as his children are allegedly being used as pawns to force him to return to the country.

If he returns, Mr al-Jabri faces possible imprisonment or house arrest like his former boss, the once-powerful interior minister, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who was ousted from the line of succession by the current crown prince in 2017.

Mr al-Jabri, 62, claims the crown prince will not rest until “he sees me dead” because “he fears my information”.

He described Prince Mohammed as “a psychopath, killer”.

The crown prince drew global outcry after it emerged that aides who worked for him had killed Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi Consulate in Turkey in October 2018.

After recordings from inside the consulate were leaked by Turkish authorities, the Saudis claimed it had been an effort meant to forcibly bring Mr Khashoggi back to the country, and that it went awry.

The crown prince denied any knowledge of the operation, despite a US intelligence assessment to the contrary.

Mr al-Jabri claimed that in a 2014 meeting with Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, who was head of intelligence as interior minister at the time, the much younger Prince Mohammed bin Salman said he could kill King Abdullah to make way for his father’s rise to the throne.

“He told him, ‘I want to assassinate King Abdullah. I get a poison ring from Russia. It’s enough for me just to shake hand(s) with him and he will be done,'” Mr al-Jabri said, claiming that Saudi intelligence took the threat seriously.

The former security advisor said the issue was handled within the royal family but a video recording of that meeting still exists.

The Saudi government told the US broadcaster that Mr al-Jabri is “a discredited former government official with a long history of fabricating and creating distractions to hide the financial crimes he committed”.

The government has issued extradition requests and Interpol notices for Mr al-Jabri, alleging he is wanted for corruption.

Mr al-Jabri claims his wealth comes from the generosity of the kings he has served.

While it is not the first time Mr al-Jabri has tried to exert pressure on the crown prince, it is his first on-record interview since his son Omar al-Jabri, 23, and daughter Sarah al-Jabri, 21, were detained in March 2020 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

A son-in-law was allegedly kidnapped from a third country, forcibly returned to Saudi Arabia, tortured and detained.

Human Rights Watch says the arrest of family members is an apparent effort to coerce Mr al-Jabri to return to Saudi Arabia.

A Saudi court sentenced his son and daughter to nine and six-and-a-half years in prison, respectively, for money laundering and unlawfully attempting to flee Saudi Arabia, according to the rights group.

An appeals court reportedly upheld the prison sentence in May, without informing the family.

Sky News has contacted the Saudi government for comment.

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