A group of Syrians filed legal action in London last week against the Qatari regime for allegedly sending hundreds of millions of dollars to the al-Nusra Front in Syria, an internationally designated terrorist group. The Times of London reported on its front page on Friday about Qatar’s alleged state sponsorship of the al-Qaeda-affiliated group.
“A private office of the Gulf state’s monarch was at the heart of clandestine routes by which money was transferred to… the Nusra Front,” according to the report, and that “two Qatari banks, several charities, wealthy businessmen, leading politicians and civil servants are among the defendants in a claim for damages lodged by nine Syrians.”
According The Times, the nine Syrians claimed in the High Court in London that “each played a part in an alleged conspiracy on behalf of the Qatari state, acting in coordination with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Sunni Islamist organization.”
Qatar, whose monarchy was accused by Germany’s Development Minister Gerd Mueller of financing the Islamic State in 2014, is slated to host the soccer World Cup in 2022.
According to the legal action filed by the Syrians, the pro-al-Nusra Front plot was activated “by high-ranking members of the Qatari ruling elite” who issued money to “actively support and facilitate” al-Nusra Front terrorists in Syria.
The Times wrote that Qatari individuals and organizations acting “on behalf of the state of Qatar” provided al-Nusra Front with hundreds of millions of dollars.
The US, UK and the United Nations Security Council have all designated the al-Nusra Front as a terrorist organization.
The Jerusalem Post reported last year that the US sent a team to probe Qatar’s regime for its reported financing of Hezbollah, a group classified as a terrorist movement by the US and the European Union.
The Times reported that “among named defendants accused of involvement are Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, Qatar’s former prime minister, and Abdulhadi Mana al-Hajri, owner of the Ritz Hotel in London. Their representatives said the allegations were completely baseless, and categorical denials have been issued by every Qatari defendant identified in the claim who was contacted by The Times.”
According to the legal action, The Times said the “money was laundered for terrorism via significantly overpriced construction contracts, the purchase of property at inflated prices, and over-payments to Syrian migrant workers. The claim alleges the clandestine funding operation was carried out with the Muslim Brotherhood, and included meetings in Turkey between prominent Qatari individuals and representatives of jihadist groups operating in Syria.”
The newspaper reported that “money was transferred from the bank accounts of Qatari companies and charities either to Syria directly or to Turkish banks, where the claimants say it was withdrawn and taken across the border into Syria.”
The Syrians said they took heavy financial losses or were victims of “torture, arbitrary detention, threats of execution and other forms of persecution committed by Nusra Front,” the report said.
The Times reported: “Central to the operation, it is alleged, was the private engineering office of the Amiri Diwan, a Qatari government agency that controls all major construction and development contracts. It receives its directives from Qatar’s emir, Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.”
The Syrians alleged that Qatar’s financial system was embroiled in the financing of al-Nusra Front, including the Qatar National Bank (QNB) and the Doha Bank. The QNB is the bank for the World Cup.
“The new claim alleges that QNB and Doha Bank knew or ought to have known that they were being used to transfer funds to terrorists,” The Times wrote. “If they were unaware of this, it is alleged that they acted unlawfully by failing to monitor their accounts. Doha Bank told The Times the allegations were untrue, as did the Khayyat brothers. QNB said the claims had no factual basis and were categorically untrue.”