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This bit of diplomatic tattle from WikiLeaks is contained in a secret cable in 2006 from Tatiana Gfoeller, U.S. consul general in the Saudi city of Jidda at the time. Ms. Gfoeller did not reveal the name of the businessman.

The businessman described how he developed a personal relationship with Prince Khalid bin Faisal, who was governor of Asir province until 2007. He is now governor of Makkah province.

Prince Khalid was living in the shabby palace that once belonged to the late King Faisal and was worried he would be embarrassed by the condition of the royal residence when he hosted a dinner for Prince Charles earlier that year. Prince Khalid gave the businessman only three weeks to make repairs.

He told Ms. Gfoeller he used styrofoam to fill holes in the walls and cut the power so the dinner was lit by candles. Charles was impressed and commented on “how luxurious and beautiful the palace was.”

Khalid, whom the businessman noted is known as “extremely cheap,” gave him a “tip” of more than $13,000 and two paintings, one by the Saudi prince and one by Prince Charles. The businessman told Ms. Gfoeller that Khalid had established an artists’ village in Abha, the capital of Asir, and encouraged the painting of people and people’s faces in violation of Saudi Arabia’s strict Wahhabi version of Islam.

*Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or e-mail jmorrison@washingtontimes.com.