Tagged As A ‘Flight Risk’! – Obaid Is Slapped With Electronic Cuff

The PetroSaudi boss and alleged mega-fraudster, Tarek Obaid, spent last week arguing in the Swiss Court that he needs secrecy and protection from Saudi Arabia.

However a court order released on Friday has undermined those claims, indicating his earlier actions had raised fears he might actually flee to Saudi Arabia instead.

The order of March 15th, which has just been made public, reveals that the Swiss authorities had been placed on alert in October last year when, as a possible ruse to avoid receiving notifications, Obaid had cited a change of lawyers, referring prosecutors to an office in Saudi Arabia as his future contact address.

Without a contact address in Switzerland, prosecutors feared he had become a flight risk and Tarek Obaid was arrested and incarcerated for a number of days until, as an alternative to jail, he agreed to surrender his passport and wear an “electronic bracelet” (tag).

Besides wearing the tag he has been forced to register his abode and to report to the local police station each time he leaves his house.

Indeed, that tag was visible under his suit as he entered the court (see main picture).

“It seems he has swapped his million dollar Philippe Patek watch for a different kind of bracelet”

was the comment offered by Obaid’s former fellow PetroSaudi director and the later whistleblower, Xavier Justo, who attended the opening days of the federal court trial where Obaid and his fellow defendant Patrick Mahony are charged with fraud and money laundering.

The two men had orchestrated the arrest and imprisonment of Justo himself for eighteen months in a Bangkok jail as part of the 1MDB cover up in 2015.

The same ruling also tossed out a demand that had apparently been made by Obaid’s lawyers in advance of the trial to remove the lead judge in the hearing which has been taking place in the Italian speaking southern town of Bellinzona, Switzerland.

They had claimed the lead judge had shown bias owing to a sentence from an earlier ruling that referred to the event of Obaid being found guilty.

However, the court has ruled this owed to a minor written error by a court clerk and dismissed the claim.

The same protests have, of course, been raised during the opening days of the trial by the defendants’ legal teams who have again asked for secrecy to protect Obaid from alleged retribution from Saudi.

However, the disclosure of his tagging episode raises the conundrum as to whether Obaid is in fact fleeing from or fleeing to his native country, where his former business partner, Prince Turki bin Abdullah (the son of the previous king for whom Tarek claims he was a secret emissary) has been incarcerated in the luxurious confines of a 5 Star hotel since 2017.

Certainly, Swiss jails are unlikely to match the same specifications as the Ritz Carlton. On the other hand, they are a lot nicer than in Bangkok and probably a lot safer than Saudi Arabia.

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