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New testimony given in rape investigation of Saudi prince

By Al Goodman, CNN
updated 12:47 PM EST, Wed December 14, 2011
Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal says he hasn't been to Ibiza in over a decade and others are trying to impersonate him.
Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal says he hasn't been to Ibiza in over a decade and others are trying to impersonate him.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Prosecutor requested the new session to clarify previous testimony
  • The woman had appealed a court ruling that there was lack of evidence of a crime
  • Prince's attorney says he was in France at the time of the incident on a well-document visit

Madrid, Spain (CNN) -- A Spanish court on Wednesday heard new testimony from a young woman who alleges that one of the world's richest men, Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, raped her on a yacht anchored at the Spanish island of Ibiza in 2008, said a court spokeswoman and a lawyer for the woman.

The prince and his lawyers were not present at the hearing. But, he has maintained that he is innocent, that he hasn't been in Ibiza in more than a decade, and that others have tried to impersonate him.

The woman, a 23-year-old dual Spanish and German citizen, provided the new testimony at the request of the Spanish prosecutor, who said some of her previous testimony needed to be clarified, the court spokeswoman and her lawyer said.

The woman, who has worked as a fashion model, entered the courthouse in Ibiza wearing a black hat and dark sunglasses to conceal her face from reporters outside, one of her lawyers, Max Turiel, told CNN by phone from Ibiza. Her mother accompanied her.

The two-hour, closed-door hearing included the woman, another one of her lawyers, the prosecutor and the investigating magistrate who is in charge of the investigation.

The magistrate is expected to ask the prosecutor to formulate questions that Spain would send to Saudi Arabia, for officials there to ask of the prince, said the court spokeswoman, who by custom is not identified. She talked to CNN by phone from Ibiza.

The woman filed her complaint in Ibiza in August of 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.

The lower court reopened the investigation last July, a court document shows, and it has labeled Prince Alwaleed as a person "imputado," or someone "under official investigation." Being named an imputado is a step short of an indictment. To this point, the prince has not been formally charged with any crime.

The Saudi prince is a billionaire and the biggest foreign investor in companies such as News Corp.

A statement, issued Wednesday by his lawyer in Madrid, reiterated the prince's innocence and said the prince was with his family in France in August of 2008 on a visit that was well-documented by his passport, cell phone records, hotel receipts, as well as photographs, video and eyewitness accounts.

"We strongly support the action of the Ibiza prosecutors and the judge to fully examine the false, unsubstantiated and constantly evolving story of the alleged victim, her mother and her lawyers," said the statement from the lawyer, Horacio Oliva. "The multiple inconsistent accounts lack even one corroborating witness nor do they present a single piece of evidence regarding" the prince.

But in her testimony on Wednesday, the woman maintained her accusation against the prince, said Turiel, her lawyer, despite what he termed tough questioning by the prosecutor seeking details of the alleged rape.

Turiel said the prosecutor's pointed questions on Wednesday, seeking to clarify the woman's earlier testimony, treated her "as if she were the one under investigation and not the victim."

According to an earlier court document in the investigation, 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 the court document.

Turiel told CNN last September 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."

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