Court documents accuse Qatar-owned Doha Bank of money transfer to Syrian extremists
LONDON: A Qatari bank has been accused of transferring “large sums of money” to an Al-Qaeda-linked extremist group in Syria.
A claim issued at the High Court in London by a group of Syrians accuses two wealthy brothers of using accounts at Doha Bank to send funds to Al-Nusra Front, according to a report in The Times newspaper.
The report follows years of allegations that Qatar supports extremist groups in the Middle East - one of the key reasons that Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries launched a boycott of Qatar two years ago.
This week, it emerged that Al-Rayan Bank, a British bank controlled by Qatar, was providing services to organizations linked to Islamist groups.
The claim against Doha Bank and the two brothers has been lodged by eight Syrians who allege they were inflicted with “severe physical and psychiatric injuries” by Al-Nusra - which changed its name to Jabhat Fatah Al-Sham in 2016.
They also claim the group forced them from their homes and caused them to lose their businesses.
The claim issued last week says the two brothers “financed and/or assisted in financing the Al-Nusra Front, including through accounts held by them and/or entities associated with them at Doha Bank.”
Richard Whiting, the bank’s chief London representative, told The Times that “Doha Bank Limited is taking legal advice.” He added that the bank: “Considers the allegations asserted against it are groundless and without merit.”
Doha Bank’s largest shareholder is Qatar Investment Authority, the Gulf state’s sovereign wealth fund. The bank’s chairman and several directors are members of the emirate’s ruling Al-Thani family.