Alex Constantine - November 17, 2009
Documentary about Saudi Prince Nayef Al-Shaalan, who was sentenced in absentia to 10 years in jail on charges of involvement in a cocaine smuggling gang [46mins]
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The 53-year-old prince was one of 10 people handed jail terms of four to 10 years in connection with an operation which landed two tonnes of cocaine at an airfield outside Paris in 1999. The judge ruled to uphold international arrest warrants against Prince Nayef and the nine other defendants, who include three former Colombian drugs barons.
Prince Nayef was convicted of illegally importing drugs, of complicity in the transport, detention and provision of drugs and of criminal conspiracy. He is accused of using his diplomatic immunity to smuggle drugs to France on board a private jet. A grandson of Saudi Arabia's founding monarch Abdulaziz and son-in-law to the Saudi deputy defence minister, the prince denies any involvement in drug trafficking. A Saudi representative at the hearing said he intended to appeal.
The investigation leading to his prince's conviction began in June 1999, when police acting on a tip-off seized 800 kilos of cocaine with a street value of $30 million a raid near Paris. Prince Nayef - who is alleged to have made contacts with Colombia's Medellin cartel while studying at the University of Miami in the early 1980s - is accused of providing a jet to transport the drugs from Colombia to Paris.