Qatar used Turkish banks to funnel hundreds of millions to jihadists in Syria, court papers allege

Qatar allegedly used Turkish banks as part of a conspiracy to funnel hundreds of millions of dollars to the Nusra Front jihadist group in Syria, The Times newspaper reported on Friday.

Nine Syrian citizens made these allegations in papers filed in London’s High Court claiming damages for everything from financial losses to torture caused by Nusra, The Times said.

The alleged scheme saw high-level Qatari businessmen, charities, and civil servants using a private office owned by the country’s emir as well as two banks, Qatar National Bank and Doha Bank, to move hundreds of millions to Nusra, The Times said.

The money was laundered under the pretext of being for construction contracts and the sale of properties, which were vastly overpriced, it added.

This was part of a broader effort, done in coordination with the Muslim Brotherhood, to finance Nusra in the civil war in Syria, the court papers maintained.

The money for the group was sent either directly or through banks in Turkey, where it was withdrawn and transferred over the border to the militants, The Times said.

Turkey has stood accused for years of turning a blind eye to jihadists crossing over its southern border into Syria to join groups such Nusra and even the Islamic State (ISIS).

Nusra, now known as Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), claims to have severed all past ties with Al-Qaeda. The group, led by Abu Mohammad al-Jolani, presently controls large swathes of Syria’s northwestern Idlib province, which borders Turkey, where it has imposed a strict rule based on its interpretation of Sharia.

The Islamist group is designated a terrorist organization by the United States.