A court in UK accused the Qatar administration of providing millions of dollars in support for al-Nusra front in Syria.
According to a paper published in the Times, nine unnamed Syrians filed a lawsuit against multiple Qatari center including two banks, various charities, and some politicians in Doha claiming that the monarchy used its private sectors to establish a system of illegal money transfers to the terrorist group in Syria.
Besides, some businessmen, civil servants, and other institutions were alleged to be participating in the same system to provide the monetary assistance to al-Nusra, the military branch of al-Qaeda in Syria.
Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, Qatar’s former prime minister, and Abdulhadi Mana al-Hajri, the owner of the Ritz hotel in London, are among the accused. According to The Times, their attorneys, as well as the attorneys for others alleged in the case, sharply reject the allegations.
The convictions have been filed in the UK High Court’s commercial division. According to the claims, the scheme involves the Muslim Brotherhood, confidential meetings in Turkey, and money trafficked through inflated construction contracts and property exchanges.
Furthermore, the suspects used the payments to Syrian migrant workers as a channel to launder the money to the terrorist groups inside Syria.
According to court documents, funds were wired directly to Syria or through Turkish banks, where they were cashed and smuggled across the border to the terrorist organization.
The nine Syrians who filed the lawsuit, according to the times, are Syrians who “suffered severe financial losses or torture, arbitrary detention, threats of execution and other forms of persecution committed by al-Nusra Front.”
The transactions were allegedly facilitated by Qatar National Bank, and Doha Bank. Qatar National Bank is considered the Middle East’s biggest financial institution.
According to the reports within the case, the banks “knew or ought to have known” the utility designated for the money. The charges have been unequivocally refuted by both institutions.
The filings, nevertheless, do not make explicit charges about the level and type of the involvement of each defendant in the case. Further information is likely to be disclosed in a subsequent paper.
All suspects will have the opportunity of filing defense documents or arguing that the issue should not be handled in English judicial system. The case will be heard if adequate proof to support the allegation are provided in supplementary filings.
al-Nusra was established in Syria by followers of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi who later commanded ISIS but was then the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. Baghdadi was dispatched from Iraq to create the group’s military branch in Syria.
The organization was created as “Jabhat al-Nusra” in 2011 under the direction of Abu Muhammad al Golani, with the claimed goal of toppling Bashar Assad’s government.
Two years later, when Baghdadi sought to establish ISIS through merging al-Nusra with al-Qaeda in, a major rift emerged. Golani, then, asserted that no such fusion had realized and galvanized his follower, who did not join ISIS, to his side.
Since 2014, the two factions fought each other, with al-Nusra attacking ISIS in the multiple areas in Syria including Raqqa. Since then, several other inside crises led to further rifts within the group with “Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham” and “Jabhat Fatah al-Sham” being the outcome.
It now holds a substantial portion of Syria’s Idlib province, the country’s last region not reclaimed by the Syrian government. Since 2012, the US has designated al-Nusra as a terrorist organization. Washington claims it has never actively sponsored or assisted the group.