Qatari tycoon brothers and Doha Bank sued for funding Syrian militants Previous

Time: August 08, 2019  

1 / 2
Moutaz (left) and Ramez Al-Khayyat are accused of using their accounts at Doha Bank to fund the Al-Qaeda-affiliated group. (Supplied)
  • The Times report says a group of Syrians have filed the claim at a London court against the bank and two brothers involved in transfers
  • The claim says the brothers used accounts at Doha Bank to send funds to the Al-Qaeda linked Al-Nusra Front

LONDON: Two billionaire Qatari brothers and a Doha-based bank are being sued in a British court for channeling cash to Al-Nusra Front militants in Syria.

Moutaz and Ramez Al-Khayyat are accused of using their accounts at Doha Bank to fund the Al-Qaeda-affiliated group. They are being sued at the High Court in London by eight Syrians who say they lost homes and businesses, and suffered physical and mental harm, because of Al-Nusra’s activities.

The Syrian claimants live in Europe, and have been granted anonymity by the court.

“The Khayyat brothers financed and/or assisted in financing Al-Nusra Front, including through accounts held by them and/or entities associated with them at Doha Bank,” the lawsuit alleges.

The claimants say funds were sent through the bank to accounts in Turkey and Lebanon, where cash was withdrawn and taken across the Syrian border to the militants. “As a result of the defendants’ actions, Al-Nusra Front was able to cause loss and damage to the claimants,” the lawsuit says.

The claimants say Doha Bank and the two businessmen “knew (or ought to have known) that the funds that passed from them or through their accounts were intended for Al-Nusra Front,” and that they had therefore “breached international and national laws.”

A spokesman for Doha Bank said they were taking legal advice but believed the claim to be “groundless and without merit.”

The Khayyat brothers run Power International Holding, one of Qatar’s largest conglomerates, with interests in construction, property and dairy farming. One of their property developments is next to the Iranian Embassy in London.

Doha Bank’s largest shareholder is the Qatar Investment Authority, the state’s sovereign wealth fund, and its chairman is Sheikh Fahad bin Mohammad bin Jabor Al-Thani, a member of the ruling family.

The Anti-Terror Quartet of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain imposed a trade, travel and diplomatic boycott on Qatar in June 2017 because of Doha’s support for extremist groups and funding of terrorism.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

ru

Doha regime condemned over Qatari bank’s funding of Islamists

Time: August 06, 2019  

The accounts of Al-Rayan customers were closed or frozen by other western banks. (Shutterstock)
  • A banned charity in the US has an account with the bank
  • A previous chief executive of the bank was also a director of a British affiliate for an international religious organization

JEDDAH: The funding of Islamist groups in the UK by a Qatar-owned bank is further evidence of Doha’s  malign activities, analysts told Arab News on Monday.
Details emerged on Monday of the activities of Al Rayan Bank, which has its headquarters in Birmingham in central England. Among its account holders are organizations linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, a charity banned in the US as a terrorist entity, groups that promote hard-line preachers, and a mosque whose trustee is a Hamas leader, the UK newspaper The Times reported.
Four of Al Rayan’s customers, a mosque and three charities, have had accounts closed by major banks including HSBC and Barclays because of their activities.
The Anti-Terror Quartet of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt imposed a trade, travel and diplomatic boycott in June 2017, in response to Qatar’s support and funding of terrorism.

Qatar has always funded militias and rogue elements. This was one of the main reasons for the boycott of Doha.

Hamdan Al-Shehri, political analyst

The exposure of the bank’s Islamist links are the latest blow to the credibility of Qatar’s denials that it supports terror. Last month a recording of a phone conversation between a Qatari businessman and the country’s ambassador to Somalia exposed Doha’s use of Al-Shabab militants to attack UAE assets in Somalia. Also in July, Italian police found a Qatar-made missile in a raid on the home of a neo-Nazi.
Al Rayan’s activities “confirm what political analysts and money-trail experts already knew,” Saudi political analyst Hamdan Al-Shehri told Arab News.
“Qatar has always funded militias and rogue elements. This was one of the main reasons for the boycott of Doha.
“These militias wreaking havoc in the region are financed by Qatar. Yes, they get logistical and ideological support from Iran, but the money comes from Qatar.”
Sir John Jenkins, a former British ambassador to Saudi Arabia and an Arab News columnist, accused Qatar of “systematically promoting Islamist causes.”
Qatar’s leaders “seem to believe they can fend off danger by using Qatar’s geographical position and cash to buy regional influence, as it has sought to do in Gaza, Yemen, Libya, Syria and Iraq … and back Islamist movements regionally and internationally.
“It does all this in spite of repeated promises to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE.”

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

ru

Saudi Arabia calls on Qatar to allow its pilgrims to perform Hajj

17/07/19

A picture taken on August 23, 2018 shows the walkway leading to the pillars where Muslim pilgrims partake in the symbolic stoning of the devil at the Jamarat Bridge in Mina, near Mecca, which marks the final major rite of the Hajj pilgrimage. – Muslims from across the world gather in Mecca in Saudi Arabia for the annual six-day pilgrimage, one of the five pillars of Islam, an act all Muslims must perform at least once if they have the means to travel to Saudi Arabia. (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP)

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has created a new webpage for Qataris who wish to perform the pilgrimage this year. (File/AFP)

  • The ministry accused the Qatari government of blocking attempts by its citizens to perform the pilgrimage
  • Saudi Arabia is one of several Arab countries that launched a boycott of Qatar in 2017 over the country’s support for extremist groups

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has created a new webpage for Qataris who wish to perform the pilgrimage this year.
Qatari Hajj pilgrims can register their details, browse packages and pay for them at: https://qh1440.haj.gov.sa

The ministry called on Qatar not to block the webpage as it did previously and “cooperate in order to allow its citizens to perform Hajj easily.”

Saudi Arabia is one of several Arab countries that launched a boycott of Qatar in 2017 over the country’s support for extremist groups.

The embargo includes transport restrictions between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, but the Kingdom has taken measures to ensure pilgrims from Qatar can travel freely for Hajj and Umrah.

The ministry said on Saturday it had taken several steps to ensure pilgrims could enter Saudi Arabia for for Hajj, which starts next month. But the ministry accused the Qatari government of blocking attempts by its citizens to perform the pilgrimage.

Following a recent meeting with a Qatari delegation to discuss the logistics of pilgrims from the country arriving in the Kingdom, the delegation from Doha left without signing any agreements to enable access for it citizens, according to the ministry.

In response to Doha’s actions, the statement said that Qatari pilgrims could complete their applications upon arrival in Saudi Arabia.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

Qatar spending large amounts on influencing US right-wing media

Time: June 25, 2019  

Washington Times had neglected to report who had sponsored the content, according to the Examiner. (Shutterstock)
  • Tim Constantine has used his position at the Washington Times and on his radio show to praise Qatar

LONDON: Qatar is spending large amounts of money on gaining influence with right-wing US media outlets, according to a report in the Washington Examiner.

Following the publication of a sponsored “special section” of articles in the Washington Times earlier this month, which lavished praise on Qatar, the Examiner found the Times had neglected to report who had sponsored the content.

Qatari money being pumped into gaining influence within US media outlets is not a new phenomenon, but its attempts to sway conservatives is a departure from its usual targeting of left-wing voters, through platforms like its social media channel AJ+, which is linked to far-left US groups like the Young Turks.

Of 25 articles published by the Washington Times, five were penned by columnist and Republican talk radio host Tim Constantine, who has consistently used his position at the Washington Times and on his radio show to praise Qatar and its role in the Middle East, with a May 2018 article calling the country a “model of progress” for the rest of the region.

NUMBER

$15 million — the amount Brookings Institution think tank received from Qatar in 2013, and at least $2 million in the past 12 months.

But the Examiner’s report showed Constantine did not mention he had just visited Qatar, where he was hosted by the country’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lolwah Al-Khater, who he has invited as a guest onto his radio show.

Just a few days after the articles in the Times were published on June 4, the paper featured an article by Jassim bin Mansour Al-Thani, Qatar’s media attache, who used a column to criticize Saudi Arabia and its allies.

Elsewhere, the report highlighted that the Brookings Institution think tank received up to $15 million from Qatar in 2013, and at least $2 million in the past 12 months. In return, the institution releases academic studies highlighting Doha’s attempts to “start a dialogue” with terror-linked groups and downplaying its close financial ties to such organizations.

Further attempts to win over right-wing elements in the US has seen Qatar offer “cash and travel invitations” since 2017 to leading US Jewish organizations like the Zionist Organization of America, which was heavily criticized for accepting funding from Qatar.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

ru

Qatar condemned after backtracking on Makkah summits declaration

03/06/19

  • Qatar’s foreign minister said Doha could not support the communique because it contradicted Qatar’s ‘foreign policy’
  • The UAE and Bahrain accused Qatar of backtracking on what had been agreed at the meetings

JEDDAH: Qatar on Sunday said it rejected the final declaration of Arab and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summits held in Makkah last week, despite originally endorsing the statement.

Doha could not support the communique because it contradicted Qatar’s foreign policy, the Qatari foreign minister said.

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel Al Jubeir, accused Qatar of distorting the facts, while the UAE and Bahrain said Doha had gone back on what had been agreed at the meetings

“Qatar had reservations today about two statements that reject Iranian interference in the affairs of the regional states, and the Arab summit’s statement confirmed the centrality of the Palestinian cause and the establishment of a Palestinian state in accordance with the borders of 67, with East Jerusalem as the capital. Everyone knows that Qatar’s distortion of the truth is not surprising,” Al-Jubeir said on Twitter.

Al-Jubeir said Qatar should have made its position clear during the meeting. “Countries that make their own decisions when participating in conferences and meetings announce their positions and reservations in the context of meetings and in accordance with norms, not after the meetings,” he said.

Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said Qatar’s change of position pointed to weakness and a lack of credibility.

“It seems to me that to attend and agree in meetings then retract what was agreed upon is either the result of pressure on the vulnerable who lost their sovereignty, bad intentions or lack of credibility, and these factors could be combined,” he tweeted.

Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, Sheikh Khalid Al-Khalifa, said the move demonstrated the weakness of Qatar’s relations with its neighbors.

In a statement, he said “Qatar’s unresponsiveness to the fair demands that were presented by our countries has led to the persistence of its crisis and prolongation.”

“We have no interest in prolonging Qatar’s crisis, but it does not want a solution after it disagreed with its brothers, a matter that absolutely does not redound to the benefit of brotherly Qatari citizens who will remain an integral part of the Gulf’s society whose countries and people are linked by the unity of purpose and a shared destiny,” he said.

Qatar has been boycotted by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt since June 2017 over its support for extremist groups and for its close relations with Iran.

Despite the breakdown in relations, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman invited Doha to attend emergency meetings of the GCC and Arab League last week in Makkah. The meetings were called in response to an increase in tensions with Iran.

The communique released Friday strongly condemned Iran for destabilizing the region and said Tehran “posed a direct and serious threat.”

“The statements of the Gulf and Arab summits were ready in advance and we were not consulted on them,” Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani told Al-Araby broadcaster. “Qatar has reservations on the Arab and Gulf summits because some of their terms are contrary to Doha’s foreign policy.”

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

Qatar says invited to emergency Arab summits in Makkah by Saudi King

27/05/19

FILE PHOTO: Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani attends the 30th Arab Summit in Tunis, Tunisia March 31, 2019. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi/File Photo
  • Last week Qatar said it had not been invited to the two summits Saudi is planning in Islam’s holiest site

CAIRO: Qatar has been invited by Saudi Arabia to attend two emergency Arab summits being convened in the Saudi city of Makkah on May 30, Qatar’s foreign ministry said on Sunday, after previously saying it had not been.

Last week Qatar said it had not been invited to the two summits Saudi Arabia is planning in Islam’s holiest site to discuss the implications of drone strikes on oil installations in the kingdom and attacks on four vessels, including two Saudi oil tankers, off the UAE coast earlier this month.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have imposed an economic and diplomatic boycott on Qatar since June 2017 over allegations that Doha supports terrorism and is cosying up to regional foe Iran. Qatar denies the charges.

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani received an invitation from Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to attend the summit of Gulf Arab rulers and a wider meeting of Arab leaders, the Qatari Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The invitation and a letter was passed to Qatar by the head of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the statement said, without saying whether Qatar would accept it.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt call on Qatar to stop funding terror groups

Time: May 17, 2019

A general view of the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva. (AN file photo)
  • Anti-terror quartet changes tack in bid to stop the spread of Islamic extremism

GENEVA:  Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt called on Qatar to stop funding terrorist groups and respect the rights of migrant workers on Wednesday.

The plea came in speeches delivered by the three countries before the UN Human Rights Council at a meeting in Geneva to review the human rights situation in the Gulf state.

In its speech, Saudi Arabia called upon Qatar to take the necessary measures to stop financing terrorist groups and to take steps not to allow media platforms to spread fanaticism.

Saudi Arabia also called for the removal of obstacles that currently hinder Qatari citizens and expatriates working in Qatar from performing Hajj and Umrah.

Saudi Arabia expressed deep concern over the tragic humanitarian situation of hundreds of Qatari Al-Ghufran clan members, after the Qatari government withdrew citizenship from hundreds of families, confiscated property and displaced them from their homes.

Bahrain called on Doha to remove barriers to justice for migrant workers, to ensure their protection from abuse and exploitation, to punish offenders who flout these regulations, and to ensure that migrants receive wages on time. It also called on Qatar to implement reforms to prevent forced labor, and to fully implement the National Plan of Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, ensuring that victims of forced labor and trafficking receive justice.

Egypt echoed Saudi Arabia, and called on Qatar to stop providing financial support to terrorists, including allowing media platforms that disseminate hate speech and justify violence or incitement to it to operate under its protection.

Cairo asked Doha to end all arbitrary detentions and enforced disappearances against a number of its own nationals, to commit to the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers and Their Families, and to adopt legislation to combat violence against women, especially migrants.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

ru

Doha tourism chief says no visas for country’s ‘enemies’

05/05/19

Akbar Al-Baker came under fire in June 2018, when he said a woman would not be capable of doing his job as CEO of Qatar Airways CEO.
  • Egyptians who live in the country already do not appear to be included
  • Deportations appear to be unlikely at this stage

DOHA: Qatar will not grant visas to those it considers “enemies,” the secretary-general of the National Tourism Council said in reference to Egyptians seeking to enter the country amid an ongoing political rift.

Since the Egyptians, who make up the largest Arab minority in Qatar, have remained and make up a sizable portion of the tiny but wealthy country’s workforce.

In June 2017 Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt broke off diplomatic relations with Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism – Doha denies the claims.

The blockade saw Qatar’s land borders and airspace closed.

Speaking at an event to promote a summer tourism campaign, the tourism council’s Akbar al-Baker said Qatar would not let Egyptians enter the country to take part in promotions aimed at boosting its tourism industry.

“The visa will not be open for our enemies – it will be open for our friends,” Baker said of Egyptians looking to visit Qatar. “Are visas open for us to go there? No. So why should we open it for them? Everything is reciprocal.”

Qatar has not said it would deport Egyptian residents already in the country and the comments did not suggest a policy shift that could endanger their status.

Many Egyptians say the visa process has been effectively closed to them since 2017, with narrow exceptions made for the immediate family members of residents and for specifically approved events.

Al-Baker came under fire in June 2018, when he said a woman would not be capable of doing his job as CEO of Qatar Airways CEO.

Speaking at the press conference following a meeting of airlines group International Air Transport Association (IATA) he was asked about female employment in the Middle East and why a woman could not do his job as CEO.

He said: “Of course it has to be led by a man because it is a very challenging position.”

This article was first published in  Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News

Qatar climbdown in WTO case involving ‘illegal’ ban on UAE goods


Time: April 27, 2019  

The UAE initiated WTO dispute-settlement proceedings against Qatar in January. (Reuters)
  • UAE government said in January that it had initiated WTO dispute-settlement proceedings against Qatar
  • Qatar has now decided to partially withdraw its measures

LONDON: Qatar has backed down on measures relating to its “illegal” ban on UAE goods and services, the subject of a dispute lodged with the World Trade Organization, the Emirates’ state news agency WAM reported.
The UAE government said in January that it had initiated WTO dispute-settlement proceedings against Qatar, following a ban on goods imposed by Doha.
Qatar has now decided to partially withdraw its measures, in what WAM said was “a significant concession aimed at averting the consequences of the UAE’s case” lodged with the WTO.
The step was announced during a session of the Dispute Settlement Body of the WTO on Friday, WAM reported on Saturday. Qatar has also partially revoked measures that banned buying and selling commodities exported by the UAE.
“The Qatari climbdown recognizes that Doha’s policies had violated its international obligations. However, the partial concession doesn’t … resolve some of the fundamental issues of the dispute, and the UAE continues to explore its legal options to ensure that Qatar abides by its WTO obligations,” WAM reported.
Abdullah Hamdan Al-Naqbi, director of the international law department at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that Qatar’s confession of its previous violations marks “a clear concession.”
“We continue to seek Qatar’s full withdrawal of these measures so as to ensure Doha’s commitment to its WTO obligations and ensure our exports of goods has free access to Qatar markets,” he said.
Qatar’s approach had “placed it on the defensive,” with little recognition of the consequences of its actions, Al-Naqbi added.
The UAE is one of several Arab nations, including Saudi Arabia and Egypt, that have imposed a boycott on Qatar due to its alleged support of terror groups. Doha denies the charges.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

ru

Exposed: How Qatar manipulates American media

16/04/19

Qatar’s shadowy funding of lobby groups and infiltration of the US media has created a climate of “fear” and is deterring American journalists from investigating Doha’s activities, it has been alleged.
A raft of allegations has emerged about how commentators paid by Qatar have appeared on mainstream US television, with no explicit acknowledgement of their allegiance to Doha.
Qatar is also taking part in “information warfare” by paying a vast network of lobbyists, as well as funding media outlets and think tanks, according to “Blood Money,” a new film about Doha’s attempts to sway political opinion in the US.
That, along with allegations that Doha sponsored the hacking of at least one US critic’s emails, is deterring journalists in Washington from pursuing Qatar-related stories, according to David Reaboi, of the US-based think tank Security Studies Group.

Reaboi, who appears in “Blood Money,” said that Qatar is spending so much on lobbying in Washington that journalists are unsure which of their sources are on Doha’s payroll.
“I’ve had private conversations with journalists who would just like to keep their heads down,” Reaboi told Arab News.
“Everyone is aware Qatar is throwing so much money around DC, and so many people are on the take. Why ruin these relationships by running an aggressive piece that will hurt their friends and associates? … Journalists will shy away from certain topics because their sources are somehow invested.”
Reaboi also cited the example of the wealthy US businessman Elliott Broidy, an outspoken critic of Qatar. Broidy sued the government of Qatar and a New York lobby firm over the alleged hacking of his email. A judge dismissed Broidy’s lawsuit, but suspicions have grown that Qatar had a hand in other hacking operations, according to reports.

DECODER

Murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s Washington Post columns were “shaped” by an executive at the Doha-funded Qatar Foundation, it emerged in December. The executive drafted material and prodded Khashoggi to take a harder line against the Saudi government, according to the newspaper.

Reaboi said that such cases have created a climate of “fear” among US journalists.
“They’ve seen the stories about Qatar critic Elliott Broidy and how Qatari hackers worked with lobbyists and (Washington) DC PR shops to try to ruin his life and livelihood by leaking his emails and confidential documents,” he said.
“They’ve also seen or heard the stories about how soccer players, Bollywood stars, think tank experts, and — perhaps most ominously, for members of the media — journalists have had their email accounts hacked. It’s better, many of them think, just to steer clear of the story at all.”
Commentators in “Blood Money,” a film by Mike Cernovich, allege Qatar funded the Brookings Institute think tank with “at least $24 million” on the understanding that its experts support Doha’s agenda. Brookings did not immediately respond to a request for comment when contacted by Arab News.
“My hope is, that when people see ‘Blood Money,’ they begin to take a closer look at the media and messaging that comes their way,” said Reaboi. “Many of us believe that Qatar’s promotion of Islamism — and the Muslim Brotherhood specifically — is detrimental to America’s national interests.”

FASTFACTS

Selected US news outlets that have been influenced by Qatar include CNN, The Washington Post, The New York Times and MSNBC.

Several mainstream media outlets have been accused of hosting commentators that are on Qatar’s payroll, including CNN, which has often hosted Mehdi Hasan, a longtime presenter at the Doha-funded Al Jazeera TV network.
“Hasan is an employee of a thoroughly state-run and controlled media outlet with particularly aggressive message control — unlike, for example, the BBC— and he has been given a platform and credibility in the US through relentless promotion by cable news channels like MSNBC and, especially, CNN,” Reaboi said.
Al Jazeera did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Instances of Qatar’s influence over the US media are sometimes more oblique. Murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s Washington Post columns were “shaped” by an executive at the Qatar Foundation, an entity funded directly by Doha, it emerged in December. The executive, Maggie Mitchell Salem, proposed topics, drafted material and prodded Khashoggi to take a harder line against the Saudi government, according to the newspaper. Salem was a former US State Department employee working at the Qatar Foundation; Washington Post colleagues were shocked by the revelation at the time.
Aside from instances of Qatar apparently infiltrating the US media, “Blood Money” also says that Qatar targeted US news shows and social media accounts that it knew had the attention of US President Donald Trump. It also cites estimates that “over 1,500 people have been hacked by Qatar,” including human rights activists and journalists.
“The very real hacking threat by Qatar has made journalists afraid to cover Qatar,” said filmmaker Cernovich in “Blood Money.”

 

This article was first published in  Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News