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Saturday, January 29, 2022

Accountant sues former employer in Qatar, after bounced cheque leads to holiday arrest


An Irish accountant, who was arrested in Portugal in 2017 because of a cheque that bounced in Qatar in 2014, is now seeking damages from his former employer.  

Accountant Bernard White claims an insufficiently funded cheque for QAR 800,000 was knowingly issued by engineering and project management firm Sepam’s Qatar office in 2014, breaking Qatari law and leading to his arrest in Portugal three years later.

White was arrested in 2017 while on holiday with his family, and held for 11 days while Portuguese authorities considered extraditing him to Qatar. 

White is now seeking damages of over QAR 6 million from Sepam’s Michele Kearney, representing, he claims, loss of earnings, negligence, deceit and misrepresentation. Kearney is a member of the family that owns the Sepam Group.

According to the claim, Kearney told White that the signed cheque would only be issued when there were sufficient funds in Sepam’s financial account in Qatar. Instead, the cheque was allegedly used to pay a company for materials used in the construction of a passenger lounge at Doha Hamad Airport. 

Twice the cheque was not honored by the bank. 

The claims state that Kearney knew criminal proceedings were initiated but did not tell White, and that Kearney was fully aware of Qatari laws that can prosecute a person for signing a cheque without the funds to approve it. 

Read also: Qatar’s amir replaces finance minister amid ongoing corruption probe

The bounced cheque, according to White’s claim, has also caused him hindrance in other aspects of his life. 

He claims that his conviction for financial fraud caused him to resign from the Irish Rugby Football Union and the Association of Referees Leinster branch. He also claims that he was dismissed from a job in 2018 because he could not travel due to previously being on an Interpol arrest list.

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