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Monday, March 11, 2013

Did The Richest Prince In Oil-Soaked Saudi Arabia Play A Pivotal Role In The Don Siegelman Case?


Prince Alwaleed bin Talal
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the wealthiest man in Saudi Arabia, has made international headlines in recent days by griping about his place on Forbes' latest rankings of the world's billionaires. Sources tell Legal Schnauzer that Alwaleed might soon make news for a far more profound reason: his apparent role in corrupting the United States justice system, especially in the political prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman.

Does that mean Alwaleed is a dreadful human being because he is petty or because he is corrupt--or because he is both?

Let's consider the petty part first. In an article titled "The Richest People on the Planet 2013," Forbes has Alwaleed falling out of his usual place among the world's top 10. The prince, it seems, takes such lists seriously and was deeply offended to find himself ranked in a three-way tie for the 26th spot. From an article at moneynews.com:


Saudi Arabia richest man, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, claims he was short-changed in Forbes’ latest list of the world’s biggest billionaires, but the magazine is standing by its rankings in a nasty spat being played out in public. 
Forbes said unnamed former employees of the prince told the magazine Alwaleed “systematically exaggerates his net worth by several billion dollars.” 
In its article, Forbes said it couldn’t justify an estimate of Alwaleed’s wealth that would exceed $20 billion, a figure that drops him out of the coveted Top Ten list and places him at a more modest Number 28.

Alwaleed is so butt-hurt that he is threatening to take legal action--and one assumes he can afford a squadron of high-priced lawyers:

Alwaleed responded to the diminished Forbes ranking by getting lawyered up — a press release from the Private Office of His Royal Highness said the prince “has retained counsel,” and requested he be removed from the list altogether.

“Prince Alwaleed has taken this step as he felt he could no longer participate in a process which resulted in the use of incorrect data and seemed designed to disadvantage Middle Eastern investors and institutions,” the palace press release stated.

Forbes writer Kerry Dolan, who covers the world’s wealthiest people for the magazine, said Alwaleed’s response is the culmination of “what is now a quarter-century of intermittent lobbying, cajoling and threatening when it comes to his net worth listing.”

The prince apparently is used to getting his way, and that brings us to the corruption portion of our story. Sources tell Legal Schnauzer that Alwaleed might have played a central role in launching a bogus prosecution against Don Siegelman. (Note: Former Republican Congressman Bob Ney, of Ohio, says in a new book that the Siegelman case was "a travesty of justice." Ney served six terms in the U.S. House before being implicated in the Jack Abramoff scandal.)

Why would a Saudi billionaire care about what transpires at a federal courthouse in Montgomery, Alabama? Well, our sources still are connecting the dots, but it's important to keep in mind that Siegelman's co-defendant was Richard Scrushy, former CEO of Birmingham-based HealthSouth corporation.

Here might be the single biggest dot in the tangled Siegelman/Scrushy story: In 2000, HealthSouth signed a deal to manage a 400-bed rehabilitation hospital near Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The Saudi/HealthSouth story got lost in the larger scandal that engulfed Scrushy and other HealthSouth executives at the time, but the management deal left ill feelings in the Kingdom. A February 2004 article from accountingweb.com explains:

The Justice Department is now looking into whether HealthSouth officials offered bribes in an attempt to secure business in Saudi Arabia, which would be a violation of federal laws that prohibit such payments to secure business oversees.

Specifically, federal prosecutors are investigating a deal signed in 2000 by HealthSouth to manage a 400-bed rehabilitative hospital outside of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. HealthSouth, based out of Birmingham, AL, specializes in rehabilitative and surgical clinics and operates nearly 1,700 facilities, mostly in the U.S.

The Justice Department has been investigating fraud within the company that it puts at $2.7 billion, while the company’s own internal figures hover closer to $4.6 billion. Fifteen former executives have already pleaded guilty in the case, including five former chief financial officers. Founder and former chief executive Richard Scrushy has denied wrongdoing and will stand trial on 85 federal charges in August.

Scrushy, of course, was acquitted in the fraud trial, and our sources say that helped fuel Saudi rage about possible under-handed actions connected to the rehab hospital in Riyadh. From accountingweb.com:

The Wall Street Journal reported that HealthSouth issued a press release in 2000 announcing its agreement to manage the Saudi Arabian hospital. In the release, Scrushy said, "HealthSouth is proud to be part of this affiliation, the goal of which is to integrate the highest quality of rehabilitative health care into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with its strong cultural beliefs and traditions."

Now investigators are wondering if behind the scenes, kickbacks were offered to secure the deal. According to the Journal, the parties involved in the deal were not available for comment. However, Steven Miles, a lawyer close to the deal is cooperating with prosecutors looking into the matter. Miles is an expert in Saudi Arabian businesses at the Washington office of Baker Botts, the Journal reported.

What does all of this have to do with Don Siegelman, who currently resides at a federal prison in Oakdale, Louisiana, after being convicted of "crimes" that do not even exist in the U.S. code? We are still piecing together that part of the story. But Americans who care about the integrity of our justice system would be wise to learn more about a HealthSouth management deal that went sour in the Arabian desert.

(To be continued)

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

LS, this is getting deep.

Dog Day said...

Just how much influence did the Saudis have during the Bush II administration? I was say it was a scary amount.

Anonymous said...

Are you saying Scrushy, not Siegelman, was the prime target of the prosecution?

Anonymous said...

Don't we know that Saudi footprints were all over 9/11?

Spasmoda said...

Don't you have to feel for the prince here? I mean the guy fell out of the top 10 on Forbes' list of billionaires. Things are tough all over!

Gerry with a G said...

I like to think I followed the HealthSouth story fairly closely, but I have no memory of this deal with the rehab hospital in Saudi Arabia. Thanks for enlightening your readers on this.

legalschnauzer said...

The alleged bribery with the rehab hospital led to a criminal trial in Bham that was at the same time as the Scrushy criminal trial. One case slightly overshadowed the other, so it was easy for citizens to miss, or forget about, the rehab case.

Anonymous said...

The Saudis messing with our justice system? That's scarier than any Wes Craven movie.

Anonymous said...

So Scrushy screwed with the Brookies and the Saudis? No wonder he wound up in prison.

Anonymous said...

The Bush family is in love with the House of Saud. And Dubya was "in charge of" the DOJ at time of Siegelman/Scrushy trial. And Scrushy pissed off the Saudis with this rehab hospital deal. I can see how these dots connect.

Barb said...

Inequality reigns supreme in Saudi Arabia, and it has one of the most dysfunctional societies on earth. We are allowing them to have influence over what's left of our democracy?

Anonymous said...

Al Waleed is a big shot with Citigroup, as is Obama advisor Richard Parsons. That's another source of Saudi influence.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Jimmy Carter try to warn us about the danger of being dependent on oil from the Middle East?

TLR said...

I guess this makes Siegelman collateral damage?

Anonymous said...

Something isn't adding up. Seigleman couldn't have just been collateral damage. There has to be more to this.

Anonymous said...

Global partners of Globalists USA,

http://www.libanmall.com/hrhnews.htm

Forbes magazine has published in its March issue of this year its 19th annual list of richest people in the world whose worth is billion dollars or more. Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal was ranked no. 5 in the list. The magazine mentioned that the net worth of HRH is $23.7 billion (SAR88.8 billion).

America was and is a very fine oyster for the oligarchs that own as much as could be stolen, for so long.

https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSsOByff1QHqYptLbz3wRQLfO9DTPu_VRiSGMkeUBj8Qb4mLQhFLg

Coyote Lane said...

http://www.voltairenet.org/article177839.html



John Kerry with his Saudi homologue, the ultra-reactionary Prince Al-Faisal.

Anonymous said...

LS...I have a very good friend who was high up in management at this hospital. He told me today that all the 'sweet deals' were done during construction before HS was even involved in the deal. HS only netted a few million a year, making it very doubtful they had anything to do with bribery. Not enough money to matter. The construction, however, was over $500,000,000. That is a large pot.

Anonymous said...

@ Coyote Lane. Thank you for posting that. I stopped following the Syrian War out of complete disgust. Glad to see Obama decided against further making an enemy of Damascus. The dumbest moved the US ever made in the Middle East was messing with Damascus! There are obviously ignorant fools responsible for diplomacy there. Hope this is true. If not we are all screwed! I

jeffrey spruill said...

Anon@9:07 AM

Karl Rove was "in charge of" the DOJ at time of Siegelman/Scrushy trial:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/14/AR2007031400519.html

legalschnauzer said...

Jeffrey:

You cite one of the most disturbing stories of the 2000s.

Coyote Lane said...

anon @ 8:20PM

You're welcome. The Story of Syria at this time measures the U.S. of A. in what is going to happen, next.

I've a Cassandra understanding happening at this time in my brain-mind.

The Federal Reserve System turns 100 in December. The outlook doesn't look good.

I have had the good FORTUNE, to find an article in the magazine "Fortune," June 1933, edition.

Unbelievable.

You can find the article both at www.theartof12.blogspot.com

and www.biloxi_marx_3752@scribd.com

"DESK DRAWER CORPORATIONS" as well as "FOUR JEWS AND A GENTILE," absolutely in my reading, tell how the Federal Reserve became the excellent SUPER PIRATES that this "entity" is.

I'm working on what to write about this because these people, have for so long decided how earth is run as their corporation, we are in truly deep doo doo.

North Korea is being allowed to threaten US, because China is real mad. Purchasing our "Debt?!" OH LOL, WALL STREET STOCKS, the dark shadows in our world have darkened the outlook for tomorrow.

December, 2013, Birthday with a BIG BANG.

Anonymous said...

@ Coyote, interesting article again. I still see a dismal future on rise but I believe that if the US regime decided against Syrian regime change then this signifies a putting on of the brakes even outside Syria. Im concerned though that the damage in Syria is going to have harsh blowback. Bush wasn't even that stupid and I'm not a fan. Hillary was a disaster and no doubt Kerry will be as well. Can't help but wonder though if he played a role in this decision. Not sure on timing.

Robby Scott Hill said...

Not sure if it was him, but a Saudi Prince owned a home in Montgomery's Cloverdale District back in the 1990's. If you were in the club, you got to go to the parties which included women & alcohol.

Robby Scott Hill said...

The anti-Semitic Saudi Royals found friends in the American South. It's not unlike the relationship between the Grand Mufti of Palestine & Nazi Germany. The House of Saud loves them some Ku Klux Klan. It's the Christian equivalent of their Islamo-Fascism.