- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 22, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Saudi Arabian officials are disputing claims from Utah police that a Saudi Arabian man facing rape charges in Utah has connections to Saudi Arabian royalty.

Dr. Sami Ibrahim with the Saudi Consulate General in Los Angeles says in a statement that 27-year-old Monsour Alshammari is a Saudi Arabian citizen but was in the United States as a college student sponsored by his country’s government.

The statement was released Wednesday by Alshammari’s defense attorney in Utah, Ron Yengich.

Orem police said in court documents that they want Alshammari to be held without bail because federal officials discovered he has connections to Saudi Arabian royalty and was stopped while trying to enter Mexico.

Orem police did not return messages seeking comment Wednesday.

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