Qatari bank accused of transferring funds to jihadist Nusra Front – the Times

A claim received by Britain’s High Court accuses Qatar’s Doha Bank of transferring funds to an outlawed jihadist group in the Syrian conflict, the Times of London reported on Wednesday.

Eight Syrian claimants brought the matter to the British court, saying they had suffered “severe physical and psychiatric injuries” at the hands of the Nusra Front, an al Qaeda affiliate that played a major role in the Syrian conflict for years, journalist Andrew Norfolk reported for the Times.

The claimants, who now reside in Europe, say they were forcibly displaced by the groups, losing their homes and businesses as a result.

“Their claim is against Doha Bank and Moutaz and Ramez al-Khayyat, described as two ‘prominent Syrian/Qatari businessmen’, whose assets include a global construction company”, Norfolk’s report said.

The claim says the Khayyat brothers sent money to the Nusra Front through large transfers made to bank accounts in Turkey and Lebanon, which were then delivered to the group in cash across the Syrian border.

Doha Bank and the brothers “knew (or ought to have known) that the funds that passed from them or through their accounts were intended for the al-Nusra Front”, Norfolk quoted the claimants’ law firm, Richard Slade and Company, as saying in the claim.

Qatar is considered Turkey’s closest ally in the Middle East region, where both countries have supported Islamist groups in political and military contexts.

Their support of the Muslim Brotherhood organisation has brought the two countries into conflict with regional rivals in Libya, Egypt and Palestine as well as in Syria.