SAN DIEGO (CN) – A brother of United Arab Emirates’ president faces civil charges in U.S. Federal Court after a Swiss court found the prince guilty of beating U.S. citizen Silvano Orsi in a Swiss bar after Orsi allegedly turned down the royal prince’s sexual advances. The Swiss court fined Sheikh Falah bin Zayad bin Sultan al-Nahyan, son of the U.A.E.’s late king, 10,000 Swiss francs (about $9,820), said Orsi’s attorney, Anthony Buzbee of Galveston, Texas.
Buzbee said in an interview that the 2003 incident, coupled with the fact that the sheikh “didn’t condescend to show up to his own criminal trial … demonstrates that (the U.A.E. royal family) believes the law does not apply to them.”
Buzbee said Orsi was talking with a friend at La Reserve Hotel Bar in Geneva when the sheikh offered him a drink.
“(The sheikh) was wearing jeans and just a regular shirt,” Buzbee said. “Mr. Orsi had no idea who he was.”
Orsi, who abstains from alcohol, declined the offer, but the sheikh sent over a bottle of champagne anyway. A few minutes later the sheikh approached Orsi, groped him and tried to sit on Orsi’s lap, according to Orsi’s complaint in Federal Court.
When Orsi said, “Hey, I’m not gay,” the sheikh “became enraged,” and kicked and beat Orsi and whipped him with the buckle end of his belt, Buzbee said. The sheikh is or was a resident of Del Mar, according to the federal complaint.
Orsi said he suffered a herniated disk, nerve damage in his left leg, and post-traumatic stress.
A spokeswoman for the Emirates Embassy in Washington refused to comment on the civil suit.
Orsi was not available for comment. “Given the royal family’s reputation,” Buzbee said, “he’s a little concerned for his safety.”
Buzbee did not specify the damages Orsi hopes for, but said he sought damages for medical care.
“Probably more importantly, we want punitive damages,” Buzbee said. “This is just another example of the Abu Dhabi royal family pretty much feeling like they’re above the law. Let’s say Mr. Orsi had done something like this in Abu Dhabi. He’d probably still be in prison, probably being tortured. But in a U.S. court, the playing field will be leveled somewhat.”