Milan's La Scala says to return funds from Saudi Arabia

World-famous opera house will refund Saudi money after anger over deal to give Gulf kingdom a place on the board
Milan's La Scala says to return funds from Saudi Arabia
MILAN ITALY APRIL 24 A general view of the Teatro Alla Scala. (Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)
Mon 18 Mar 2019 07:30 PM

Milan's La Scala will refund money it received from Saudi Arabia after anger over a deal which assured it a place on the board, the world-famous opera house's president said 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 three million euros received so far.

The proposal to use some 15 million euros 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 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.

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