A pair of flight attendants claim they were repeatedly sexually assaulted by the then-prime minister of Lebanon aboard his private plane — including while en route to a state visit at the White House — according to a federal lawsuit.
Saad El-Din Rafik Al-Hariri, whom Forbes reported as having a net worth of $1.7 billion in 2018, regularly groped the two women and forcibly raped one of them multiple times during flights where Hariri was “heavily medicated” and his cronies drank and did cocaine, they alleged in court papers.
The attacks frequently occurred on Hariri’s Boeing-737, claimed the women, who were identified in court papers only as Jane Doe 1 and 2.
“If you want to work in this company you are going to have to learn to suck some d–k,” Jane Doe 1’s boss, Helen Conlon, allegedly told her when she reported the assaults, she claimed in the Brooklyn Federal Court lawsuit.
Hariri, 52, served as Lebanon’s prime minister from 2009 to 2011 and again from 2016 to 2020 before abruptly leaving politics behind in 2022.
His father, Rafic, also served two stints as the country’s prime minister and was assassinated in 2005.
He has repeatedly denied the allegations as false and deemed them a “smear campaign.”
Hariri has repeatedly denied the allegations as false and deemed them a “smear campaign.”
It’s the third time the women have attempted to sue Hariri in New York, records show.
Two previous lawsuits in state court were either dropped or dismissed by a judge.
The purported victims have “engaged in years-long harassment of Mr. Hariri with the goal of using false and inflammatory allegations in an effort to wrongfully extract millions of dollars,” his lawyer, Rita Glavin, told a Manhattan Supreme Court judge in August.
Hariri, a married father of three, made headlines in 2019 after it emerged he’d allegedly made $16 million in payments to his bikini-model mistress, Candice van der Merwe, who was later probed in her native South Africa for failing to pay tax on the cash.
The flight attendants worked for Saudi Oger, a construction company that shut down in 2017 and was owned by the Hariri family.
During one alleged attack, Hariri allegedly “forcefully” grabbed Jane Doe 1’s genitals and told her, “I like you. I’ll see you again, very soon,” according to the legal papers.
The first accuser — who “feared the possible consequences to both her future employment and safety if she reported the abuse externally” — finally quit in 2009 after years of assaults, she said in the litigation.
The second accuser was first assaulted by Hariri in September 2007, when he flew to Washington, DC for a state visit with President George W. Bush, she alleged.
Hariri asked for a bottle of water in his bedroom, then tried to force her onto his bed before she escaped, she said in the legal filing.
Another of the attacks took place after a 2008 Christmas party during which the female crew was required to dress in “sexy” Santa costumes and guests drank “copious” amounts of booze, she said in court papers.
When she reported the assaults, Conlon allegedly told her, “nobody says no to [Hariri], darling,” according to the lawsuit.
She was fired in 2010, the alleged victim said in the litigation.
The women, who hail from Australia and Wales, sued Hariri, a dual citizen in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, in New York under the state’s Adult Survivors Act.
The law opened a one-year legal window for victims who were over the age of 18 when they were assaulted, and whose cases are otherwise past the statute of limitations, to go to court.
The victims reported the assaults to law enforcement in their home countries, according to their lawyer, Zachary Holzberg.
A spokesperson for Hariri slammed the claims as “outrageous, sensational and defamatory … [and] completely false,” adding, “After another New York court granted our motion to dismiss their original lawsuit and rejected a second filing outright, they are now trying to get a third bite at the apple. … Mr. Hariri remains unwilling to pay the millions of dollars they demanded in exchange for not filing these lawsuits.
The women are seeking unspecified damages.
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