DOHA- In Qatar, a criminal court has issued a 20-year prison sentence to Qatar Airways (QR) former chairman and former finance minister of the Gulf Arab state, Ali Sherif al-Emadi, on charges of laundering over $5.6 billion.
The judgment, as detailed in a document viewed by Reuters, also mandates a fine surpassing 61 billion Qatari riyals ($16.7 billion). This includes 40.9 billion riyals, equivalent to twice the laundered amount, along with additional fines exceeding 21 billion riyals.
Qatar Airways Former Chairman Money Laundering
Sheikh Nawaf bin Jassim bin Jabor Al Thani, a prominent member of Qatar’s ruling family and brother of the former prime minister, has been found guilty by judges of misusing public funds.
The court sentenced him to six years in prison and imposed a fine of 825 million riyals, as indicated in the same document.
Both Emadi and Sheikh Nawaf, along with 14 co-defendants, have the option to appeal the conviction issued on January 10. It remains unclear whether the two entered pleas in response to the charges during the trial.
The charitable foundation affiliated with his branch of the ruling family, which he previously chaired, stated that it had severed ties with him.
Emadi faced charges encompassing bribery, abuse of power, and damage to public funds, in addition to money laundering, as outlined in the document, which did not specify the details of the corruption allegations.
A lawyer representing another defendant and a source familiar with the case corroborated the information contained in the five-page court document seen by Reuters
Arrested in May 2021 and subsequently removed from his position as finance minister, Emadi’s legal troubles were linked to his role in the finance ministry, clarified Qatar’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani.
Despite holding other positions in the business community during his tenure as minister, the investigation primarily focused on his capacity as finance minister.
The arrest, legal proceedings, and now the conviction of high-ranking figures like Emadi and Sheikh Nawaf have reverberated through Qatar’s financial circles. Such a noteworthy anti-corruption investigation is uncommon in the Gulf, where prominent public figures seldom face public scrutiny or legal action.
A day before Emadi’s arrest in 2021, Qatar’s emir abolished provisions granting ministers immunity from prosecution, as reported in the official gazette.
Sheikh Nawaf, brother of Qatar’s former prime minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, served as the chairman of Katara Hospitality until 2021. This entity, affiliated with the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), owns iconic properties such as London’s Savoy and New York’s Plaza and was responsible for the $600 million Katara Towers hotel project in Qatar.
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