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Galveston lawyer Anthony G. Buzbee said if Nabulsi prevails, he’ll target Issa’s U.S. assets — which could include parts of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. Worth about $875 billion, it is the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world.
 
Houston man says he was tortured for videos-Lawsuit targets part of United Arab Emirates royalty
June 16, 2008 Houston Chronicle By CINDY GEORGE
 
A Houston businessman who structured multimillion-dollar deals with a member of the United Arab Emirates royal family alleges he was tortured by overseas jailers at the behest of that business partner.
 
Bassam Nabulsi and his wife, Rima, detail the alleged abuse in a federal lawsuit filed in Houston against Sheikh Issa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a son of the late United Arab Emirates president.
 
In court papers, Nabulsi says he was abused and threatened with harm to his family if he didn’t turn over videos showing Issa torturing others.
 
“Sheikh Issa came to enjoy torturing people who he perceived had slighted him. He also took pleasure in videotaping the torture sessions, so he could watch the sessions at a later date,” the lawsuit claims.
 
The lawsuit names five members of the royal family, including the crown prince. The original version, filed in 2006, sought $1 billion. The amended complaint filed Monday seeks millions Nabulsi claims he is owed from various business dealings with Issa, as well as other unspecified damages.
 
Violent still frames
The tapes have not been made public, but The Associated Press reported Monday that it viewed 11 still frames from one of the videos. According to the AP, they showed a man appearing to be Sheikh Issa beating another man with lumber, firing an automatic weapon into the sand around the man and forcing what appeared to be a cattle prod into his anus. The victim also appeared to have been partly run over by an SUV, the news service reported.
 
The United Arab Emirates Embassy in Washington released a brief statement to The Associated Press on Monday, saying it was aware of the lawsuit but that, since the government itself was not being sued, it would not comment on the accusations.
 
Nabulsi has spent two years trying to get his lawsuit off the ground, only to run into problems serving legal papers on members of the royal family.
 
U.S. District Judge Sim Lake gave until June 30 to serve the lawsuit on Issa or explain why the case shouldn’t be dismissed.
 
Ran business for wealthy
Born in Lebanon and fluent in Arabic, Nabulsi ran a business catering to the Mideast’s wealthy seeking medical care and other services in Houston.
 
During Issa’s monthlong trips to Houston, Nabulsi arranged his residency at the Four Seasons Hotel, shopping trips to Versace and Neiman Marcus and treatments at St. Luke’s Hospital, the lawsuit says.
 
As the relationship began to deteriorate, Issa became desperate to retrieve the torture tapes, the lawsuit alleges. Nabulsi was arrested overseas in February 2005 on a false marijuana possession charge fabricated by Issa and his brother, court papers said.
 
Nabulsi was jailed for three months. Though acquitted on the drug charges at trial, the Texan, naturalized in 1991, remained imprisoned until the U.S. Embassy intervened, the lawsuit states.
 
Galveston lawyer Anthony G. Buzbee said if Nabulsi prevails, he’ll target Issa’s U.S. assets — which could include parts of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. Worth about $875 billion, it is the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world.
 
 
 


 

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