FBI: Saudi government ‘almost certainly’ helps its citizens escape prosecution in US for serious crimes


The FBI believes the Saudi Arabian government “almost certainly” helps its citizens flee the country after they are accused of serious crimes, “undermining the US judicial process,” according to a newly declassified document obtained by The Oregonian/OregonLive.

The surreptitious action is done, in part, to spare the wealthy Persian Gulf kingdom embarrassment, the FBI said. Intelligence officials believe the escapes from justice will continue without intervention by the American government.

“(Saudi) officials are unlikely to alter this practice in the near term unless the US Government (USG) directly addresses this issue with (Saudi Arabia) and ties US cooperation on (Saudi) priorities to ceasing this activity,” according to the FBI.

The details are contained in an intelligence bulletin dated Aug. 29. The FBI released the document Friday as part of a recent law pushed by U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and signed by President Donald Trump last month that requires the FBI to publicly disclose what it knows about the Saudi government’s suspected role in helping its citizens avoid prosecution in the U.S.

The heavily redacted bulletin does not specify how the Saudi government may be assisting its citizens, nor does it contain information about the size and scope of the practice.

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