Some prominent members of the Saudi Arabian royal family are being sued by British entrepreneur Gary Arnold for their alleged failure to honour a deal that has left him facing imprisonment.
The 50 year old, who developed his fish and chips franchise to 36 branches across Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other parts of the Middle East, was arrested in Dubai this week over unpaid debts which he blames on the failure of Saudi royals to keep their part of a legally-binding deal.
Arnold's lawyer, Toby Cadman, told the Daily Telegraph that his client is facing eight charges related to unpaid bills, including one that carries a maximum two year jail sentence.
Cadman, co-founder of Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers, said that he would be filing an application in the High Court in London as a matter of urgency to have a judgement in Mr Arnold's favour in Saudi Arabia applied in Britain in a bid to put pressure on the royals to pay the money that they owe the businessman.
The members of the royal family named in the alleged breach of contract include Prince Faisal Bin Bandar Bin Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud. The Daily Telegraph mentioned two other royals being linked to the company who deny any involvement in the fish and chip deal. They are its ex-chairman, Prince Khalid Bin Bandar Al-Saud, the Saudi Ambassador to London, and its co-founder Princess Reema Bint Bandar Al-Saud, the Saudi Ambassador to Washington.
Arnold's row with the Saudi royals began in 2017. His lawyers said that he and his business partners had not received the money agreed as part of the merger and acquisition of their firm, London Business Group, by the Saudis' family company, Harbor Holdings-Himmah Foods.
Thereafter a Saudi court ruled in Arnold's favour and ordered them to pay him 5,087,500 riyals ($1,349,660) under the terms of the original deal. This legal move pitted him and his partners against high-profile members of the Saudi royal family.
"These are high profile individuals who seem to be under the impression that they can dump their responsibilities and ignore our exposure," Arnold told the Telegraph. "I have been shouldering their liabilities for the last three years."
Cadman has informed the three royals of the impending action that is being taken against them. Commenting on the franchise he said: "London Business Group was a very successful business that the Saudi Arabian royals' company has destroyed through negligence or incompetence. I am on the verge of filing applications in the High Court to recognise decisions in favour of the group from Saudi Arabia."
Arnold's local MP has taken up his case as has the British Foreign Office, which said that it is "supporting a British man in the UAE and have been in contact with his legal representatives."