Woman charged over extortion plot

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Los Angeles -

A German woman was charged in California on Monday with trying to extort at least $15 million from a Saudi sheikh by falsely claiming to have been sexually assaulted and tortured by his son.

Leyla Ors, 33, allegedly asked for the money from Sheikh Monsur Albalwi, one of the wealthiest in Saudi Arabia, in return for not testifying against his 23-year-old son Thamer Albalwi.

She and her two attorneys, Joseph Gerard Cavallo and Emanuel Karl Hudson, were charged with one count each of attempted extortion, conspiracy to commit extortion, conspiracy to receive a bribe and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

Ors was additionally charged with one count of offering to receive a bribe, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

She told police in March that she had been raped and tortured by Albalwi, who was charged with four counts of sexual assault as a result of her claims, as well as a physical exam and visible injuries.

In June, Hudson allegedly called Albalwi's father and told him that for $15 million, Ors would not testify against his son and “the case would be over”.

On the same day, Cavallo allegedly called the sheikh and demanded $20 million, to be paid into an account in Lucerne, Switzerland, set up to receive the cash.

Ors and the two lawyers were arrested on Thursday.

On Friday, LA Superior Court Judge James Dabney dismissed the sexual assault case against Albalwi, the District Attorney's Office said.

The attorneys were released on bail, but Ors remains in custody.

If convicted, each of the defendants could face up to four years in jail. - Sapa-AFP

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