Qatar’s former finance minister Ali Sherif al-Emadi will face a criminal trial, said the state-run Qatar News Agency (QNA) in a short statement issued on Sunday (March 19), following his arrest two years ago over alleged embezzlement. Al-Emadi who served as the minister of finance in the wealthy Gulf Arab state from 2013 till his arrest in 2021 will face trial along with a number of others who have been charged with similar crimes.
The state-run news agency without mentioning the number of other people said Al-Emadi and others will face trial over charges of bribery, abuse of position and power, damage to public funds and money laundering, reported Reuters. However, it is also unclear whether all those accused will face the same charges or not.
“Since evidence extracted from the case documents proved that the accused committed the crimes ascribed to them, the Attorney General issued an order to refer the accused to the Criminal Court to punish them for the crimes ascribed to them, which included bribery, appropriation of public money, abuse of office, abuse of power, damage to public money and money laundering,” said the QNA report, as per Al Jazeera.
Notably, there are not a lot of details released about Al-Emadi’s arrest including how much money the former minister is accused of stealing. The 54-year-old who was arrested in May 2021 was stripped of his ministerial duties and removed from the Qatar Investment Agency which owns 50 per cent of the Qatar National Bank where he served as a board member.
Al-Emadi was also one of the most powerful officials in the country prior to his arrest, and was CEO of the bank, on the board of Qatar’s $300 billion sovereign wealth fund and president of the executive board of Qatar Airways. While Al-Emadi has been arrested, he has not been placed in detention, reported AFP.
Qatar’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani have previously clarified that the investigation into the former finance minister was related to his ministerial duties and not his posts at the sovereign fund or the bank, reported Reuters. Notably, ahead of Al-Emadi’s arrest the Qatari PM had also revised the law ending immunity from prosecution for ministers.
(With inputs from agencies)
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