Lawyers on terror alert as Saudi Arabia fears attacks

The Law Gazette ❘ June 2004

The Law Gazette

By Jeremy Fleming

Lawyers and other businessmen are being targeted by terrorists in Saudi Arabia, a senior security source warned last week as UK firms in the region froze travel and meetings within the oil-rich kingdom.

Alex Bomberg, managing director of International Intelligence, a Cheltenham-based security firm, told the Gazette that a senior intelligence officer in the region warned last week that the situation in Saudi Arabia is deteriorating rapidly.

Mr Bomberg said: “Because the situation in Iraq is likely to change in the run-up to elections and the transfer of sovereignty there, so we are expecting that there will be a transfer of terrorist activity to Saudi Arabia. Western businesses will be targeted to squeeze them out of the region.”

Global giant Clifford Chance has two secondees with its Riyadh-based associate firm Al-Jadaan. Ewan Cameron, the head of corporate in Clifford Chance’s Dubai office, said: “We are monitoring the situation carefully. We have a contingency plan on ice in every office throughout the world should we need it and we are taking the guidance of the British and US embassies. They have been saying avoid non-essential travel into Saudi Arabia.”

He said that if Clifford Chance perceived there was “a real risk” - or if the secondees so chose - they would be pulled out.

Richard De Belder, the managing partner of City firm Denton Wilde Sapte’s Bahrain office, said of Saudi Arabia: “We’re not planning to make visits there. I have been planning meetings there for some time, but postponing them for the past few months.”

For up-to-date information on the risk and security situation, see our Saudi Arabia Risk Report.