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Saint Lucia’s representative to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Dr. Walid Juffali died in Zurich on Wednesday following a lengthy battle with cancer, the Daily Mail (UK) has reported.
Arabic daily newspaper Okaz also reported that the Saudi billionaire was receiving treatment at a Swiss hospital when he died. The newspaper said that his body is expected to be repatriated to Saudi Arabia within a few days for burial.
Juffali’s name became popular here when the British press reported that he was appointed a Saint Lucian diplomat to avoid a divorce matter that was brought against him by his ex-super model wife.
The former Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) government headed by Dr. Kenny Anthony came out several days later to confirm that he was representing Saint Lucia at the IMO.
But that government was heavily criticised, since it was later noted that Juffali was appointed a diplomat after his ex-wife Christina Estrada had filled legal proceedings against him.
Juffali’s appointment was publicly questioned and the British High Court later stripped the Saudi businessman’s diplomatic immunity in the divorce proceedings.
This happened after a request was sent for the Saint Lucia government to grant a waiver of the diplomatic immunity, but was rejected on the basis that it was a ‘private affair.’
Only two weeks ago, Estrada was awarded a £75 million divorce settlement, with the British press calling it one of the largest “needs award” arising from a divorce in legal history.
WScience Laboratories, an organisation that was headed by Juffali had promised to build a diabetic research centre here.
The new Saint Lucia government had promised to review Juffali’s appointment.