Trafficking case against Saudi princess dismissed

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This undated provided by the Irvine Police Department shows Meshael Alayban, 42, who was arrested July 9, 2013 in Irvine, California. AP

SANTA ANA, California — A human-trafficking case against a Saudi princess in the U.S. has been dismissed.

The surprise announcement came Friday as 42-year-old Meshael Alayban was to face arraignment on a charge that could have brought as many as 12 years in prison.

The charge was filed after a Kenyan maid alleged Alayban had taken away her passport and forced her to work long hours without pay.

Prosecutors now say further investigation did not corroborate the allegations.

The maid escaped from Alayban’s condo in July, got on a bus and told a passenger her story, authorities said. The passenger helped her contact police.

Alayban and her attorneys likened the issue to a contract dispute and said the maid and her counterparts were treated well.

But District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said the circumstances were closer to slavery.

Alayban had been free on $5 million in bail posted by the Saudi consulate.

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