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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Qatar PM sues Kuwaiti journalists for libel

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Qatar’s prime minister has filed a libel lawsuit against three Kuwaiti journalists and a former member of parliament for claims that the PM gave almost $55 million from a former opposition lawmaker, his lawyer has said.

The suit was prompted by a December report initially published by Arabic-language newspaper Al-Shahed that Shaikh Hamad Bin Jassim Al Thani gave the money to former MP Mosallam Al Barrak to buy his “political loyalty.”

Kuwait Times reports:

The report said the transfer was made from HSBC Bank in Qatar to Doha Bank, both of which have branches in Kuwait.

The paper said the transfer was made in the summer this year and coincided with a vote on a grilling of former prime minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, an indication the money was for political reasons.

But the transfer as published in the report only displayed the first name of the beneficiary, covering the rest. 

Gulf News reports:

The bank that allegedly issued the cheque denied its existence and insisted that no cheque was signed by Shaikh Hamad Bin Jassem in favour of a person called Mosallam.

Al Barrak also denied the newspaper report and said he had no bank account in Doha. He added that his name on the alleged cheque was spelled “Mussalam” while it was typed “Mosallam” in his passport…

Kuwait last year was rocked by a financial scandal after several former lawmakers were investigated by the public prosecution for allegedly receiving huge amounts of money to influence their voting.

The men named in the lawsuit include ex-MP Saadoon Hamad, Shaikh Sabah Al Mohammad, the editor-in-chief of Al Shahed newspaper, Shaikh Khalifa Ali Al Khalifa, the editor-in-chief of Al Watan and Othman Al Saeed, a presenter with Scoop channel.

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