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American Says He Was a Captive in Saudi Palaces : Suit by U.S. Businessman Says He Was Saudi Captive

August 27, 1986|United Press International

WASHINGTON — An American businessman, in an affidavit made public today, charged that he was held against his will for four months in a series of Saudi royal palaces, a victim of internal palace intrigues.

A suit has been filed by Sam Bamieh, a San Mateo, Calif., businessman who said he acted as a financial consultant and adviser to Saudi Arabia's King Fahd for several years.

According to the complaint, several high-ranking Saudi officials working for King Fahd, who are identified as Mohammad Imran and Mohammad al-Suliamen, conspired to imprison Bamieh from March to July of this year in a series of royal palaces in Saudi Arabia.

The documents, provided to reporters in Washington, say Bamieh was told that he "was a guest of the king," but that he could not leave and he was falsely accused of being an agent of the CIA and the Israeli secret service, Mossad. His suit charges that he was confined for 133 days and then, without explanation, was permitted to go and given $400,000 in compensation for the treatment he had endured.

The suit, asking $52 million in damages for his suffering and loss of business, was filed in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California. It claims that his international consulting business was severely damaged by his absence and by libelous statements made about him by the Saudi officials.

The suit charges that he was placed in "protective custody," his telephone lines were tapped and he was repeatedly interrogated about his business connections. It says he also was warned that he would never see his family again unless he agreed to drop some business claims against the defendants.

He believes that he was finally permitted to leave when an unnamed former White House official interceded with the Saudi government on his behalf.

He says he and his wife are still receiving "strange telephone calls," which be believes are meant to make him feel in danger if he continues his suit.

According to documents in the case, Bamieh believes he was the victim of an internal political struggle within the Saudi royal family and the Saudi government, which was made more intense by the falling amounts of oil revenue available to the Saudi government.

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