3 People Face Charges in $20M Extortion Plot of Wealthy Saudi Sheik

Three people were charged in a plan to falsely accuse a wealthy Saudi sheik's son of rape and torture

By Mateo Melero
|  Tuesday, Jul 15, 2014  |  Updated 3:27 PM PDT
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A woman and her two lawyers conspired to a plan to extort $20 million from a wealthy Saudi sheik by claiming the son raped and tortured the woman, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

German national Leyla Ors, 33, Joseph Gerard Cavallo, 58 and Emanuel Karl Hudson, 58, were arrested in connection with the scheme.

Ors, Cavallo and Hudson were charged with attempted extortion, conspiracy to commit extortion, conspiracy to receive a bribe and conspiracy to obstruct justice, according to a statement from the district attorney's office. In addition, Ors, 33, was charged with one count of offering to receive a bribe by a witness.

They allegedly planned to extort Saudi sheik Monsur Albalwi, one of the country's wealthiest men, by falsely claiming that his son raped and tortured Ors, authorities said.

Based on Or's allegations, a physical exam, and visible injuries, Thamer Albalwi was charged with four counts of sexual assault March 13, authorities said.

Charges against Albalwi were dropped on Friday.

The case developed after attorney Hudson called the sheik and told him that for $15 million Ors would not testify against his son and the case would be over, authorities said.

Cavallo called the same day, demanding $20 million and informing the sheik that he would set up a Swiss bank account for the transfer, according to the DA.

Ors and her two attorneys could face up to four years in custody if convicted, authorities said

His attorneys issued a statement Monday saying that an investigation showed the Albalwi family was "the target of a sophisticated, international extortion scheme."

Attorney Alan Jackson said that Superior Court Judge James R. Dabney issued a rare finding of "factual innocence" concurring with the district attorney's office that that "Albalwi was falsely accused of sexually assaulting a woman visiting him in Los Angeles."

Albalwi provided police with telephone and credit card records, emails, text messages and surveillance video which showed the accuser's allegations were false, Jackson said.

Thamer Albalwi issued a statement saying, "I prayed that the truth would come out and, thanks to the American justice system, it did."

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