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Syria: Qatar accused of funding Nusra Front in UK court

Key actors from Gulf state allegedly sent hundreds of millions of dollars to al-Qaeda affiliate, claims they all vehemently deny
An Al-Nusra Front fighter poses next to the movements flag in a destroyed building near the front line with government solders in Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp, on 22 September 2014 (AFP)

Qatar was this week accused in a UK court of sending hundreds of millions of dollars to al-Nusra Front in Syria, The Times reported on Friday.

Nine unnamed Syrians lodged a claim for damages against two Qatari banks, multiple charities, businessmen, politicians, civil servants, and other defendants, alleging that "a private office of the Gulf state's monarch" was central to a system of illegal money transfers to the al-Qaeda affiliate, the paper wrote.

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The defendants include Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, Qatar's former prime minister, and Abdulhadi Mana al-Hajri, who owns the Ritz hotel in London. Their representatives, and those of every other defendant in the case, strongly deny the accusations, according to The Times.

The claim, lodged in the commercial division of the UK Hight Court, reportedly alleges that the conspiracy includes the Muslim Brotherhood, secretive meetings in Turkey and money laundered via bloated construction contracts and property prices, as well as overpayments to migrant workers from Syria.

The Times reports that the claimants are nine Syrians "who allege they suffered severe financial losses or torture, arbitrary detention, threats of execution and other forms of persecution committed by Nusra Front."

Middle East Eye has not been able to independently verify the claim documents.

More details on the case will come out when all the defendants have been given a copy of the documents filed in the High Court this week.