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Thai court throws out murder charges in Saudi 'Blue Diamond' case

Published on Mar 31, 2014 2:11 PM

BANGKOK (REUTERS) - A Thai criminal court on Monday dismissed a case against five men, including a senior police officer, charged with murdering a Saudi businessman over precious stones worth millions of dollars stolen a quarter of a century ago.

The theft of the jewels worth US$20 million (S$ 25 million) in 1989 and subsequent disappearance of Mohammad al-Ruwaili, a businessman with ties to the Saudi royal family, strained Thai-Saudi relations severely.

Bangkok's Ratchadaphisek Criminal Court ruled there was insufficient evidence to try the five men who were accused of kidnapping and killing Ruwaili, who had gone to Bangkok to investigate what became known as the "Blue Diamond Affair".

The gems and jewellery were stolen from a Saudi prince's palace by a Thai gardener, Kriangkrai Techamong, who shipped the loot back home to Thailand.

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