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La Scala to return over €3 million of Saudi money

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La Scala to return over €3 million of Saudi money
La Scala stood to gain €15 million through the Saudi deal. Photo: Brescia/Amisano /Teatro alla Scala/AFP
16:03 CET+01:00
Milan's La Scala will refund money it received from Saudi Arabia after anger over a deal which assured the country a place on the board, the world-famous opera house's president said on Monday.

"Back to square one. We'll return the money to the Saudis," the opera house's president Giuseppe Sala said, adding that the board had voted "unanimously" to refund over €3 million received so far.

READ ALSO: 'A slap in the face for human rights': Should La Scala take Saudi money?

The proposal to use some €15 million in Saudi Arabian government funds for the historic theatre had come under fire earlier this month because of anger over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The October killing of the Washington Post contributor in Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul sparked international outrage. Riyadh denies involvement and says the killing was carried out by rogue agents.

The deal could have seen Saudi culture minister Prince Badr bin Abdullah take up a seat on the board, media reports said.

La Scala director Alexander Pereira, who had negotiated the financing deal with the Saudi culture ministry, will keep his job, Sala said, amid reports he would be ousted over the controversy. 

READ ALSO: Inside Casa Verdi, Italy's retirement home for musicians


Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP
 

 
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