Saudi princes warn of damage to UK relations if allegations emerge in trial
Relations between the UK and Saudi Arabia will suffer if what are said to be highly damaging allegations about business deals surface during a London trial, lawyers for two Saudi princes have warned the high court.
The resort to political justifications – among other reasons – for suppressing the disputed claims is revealed in a ruling delivered on Wednesday by Mr Justice Morgan. The judgment upholds, in principle, requests by the Guardian and Financial Times to be given documents detailing the disputed transactions involving Saudi interests in Beirut and Nairobi.
The allegations are said to be so serious that if published they would upset relations not only between the oil-rich kingdom and the UK but also have an "adverse effect" on Saudi links with the US. The Saudis have dismissed them as untrue, "outrageous" and "scandalous".
The companies court judge has given the Saudis time to appeal against his decision. A confidential annex to the judgment is, therefore, not yet being made public; it remains temporarily closed pending an appeal.