Court reopens rape investigation of Saudi prince

An investigation against Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, who was accused of raping a woman in 2008, has been reopened.

Story highlights

  • A judge rules that a lower court must reopen the rape case
  • The alleged victim says she was drugged and raped
  • She identifies Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal as the perpetrator
  • The prince says he was in a different place at the time of the alleged attack
A Spanish court has reopened an investigation into an allegation that one of the world's richest men, Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, raped a young woman on a yacht on the island of Ibiza in 2008.
But the prince says that not only is he innocent, but that he hasn't even been in Ibiza in more than a decade -- and that others have tried to impersonate him.
The woman filed her complaint in Ibiza in August 2008, but a local judge shelved it last year, citing a lack of evidence that a crime had been committed, according to court documents.
The woman appealed to the next highest court, the Balearic Island Provisional Court, which ruled that the lower court in Ibiza should reopen the investigation.
According to court documents obtained by CNN, the victim argued in her appeal that the real reason the lower court tossed out the case was that the alleged perpetrator was a powerful member of the Saudi royal family.
A second document shows that the lower court has complied with the latest ruling, labeling Prince Alwaleed as a person an "imputado," or someone "under official investigation," and is seeking a statement from him. Being named an imputado is a step short of an indictment.
The Saudi prince, a billionaire and the biggest foreign investor in companies such a News Corp., said in a statement that it was not until this week that he learned of the accusation.
"These allegations are completely and utterly false," said a statement from his investment firm, Kingdom Holding Co. "The alleged encounter simply never happened."
According to the statement, the prince doesn't even vacation in Spanish waters.
Travel records show that he was elsewhere on the night of the alleged rape and in the company of others, the statement says.
But Max Turiel, one of the lawyers for the alleged victim, says there is evidence that they want to the court to examine further.
According to the court documents, the woman believed that her drink had been drugged. She sent a text message to a friend stating as much. She awoke on a yacht to find she was being sexually assaulted by a man she identified as Prince Alwaleed, according to court documents.
Turiel told CNN that "there were remains of semen" that should be examined against the prince's DNA, as well as "remains of a tranquilizer that produced the symptoms she had."
The evidence came from tests carried out 30 hours after the alleged rape, the attorney said, so the alcohol was gone from her body, but not the drug or the DNA.
Turiel said the alleged victim's mother could answer questions from CNN, but only through e-mail. He provided responses to CNN's questions that he said were from the mother. CNN cannot independently confirm that the message was from the victim's mother.
"She wanted to reopen the case due to the huge injustice and a feeling of a helplessness; powerful people should not take undue advantage of it and have others subjected to them," the message said.
The message described the "man or men" who allegedly abused the young woman as powerful individuals who threatened her on board the yacht.
Asked if her daughter was afraid to appeal the case, the mother said, "Part of the fear has a lot of dignity and that can't be bought nor scared off with threats."
The young woman, a dual Spanish and German citizen, is now 23 years old, the e-mail said.
Asked for additional comment on Thursday, Prince Alwaleed's representatives did not immediately respond to CNN.