Ritz owner Abdulhadi Mana al-Hajri seeks immunity over terrorism financing allegations
A London court was told yesterday that Abdulhadi Mana Al-Hajri the owner of the Ritz hotel in London, should not be allowed to claim state immunity from prosecution over links to jihadi terrorists.
Abdulhadi Mana al-Hajri is among leading Qatari individuals and institutions accused of using a variety of clandestine means, including money laundering, to send hundreds of millions of dollars to the outlawed terrorist organisation Nusra Front during the Syrian civil war.
Claims against the Qataris, including the Ritz owner and Qatar National Bank, were filed in the High Court last year by nine Syrian refugees who say they were the victims of torture, financial losses and religious and ethnic persecution.
Reported in The Times, they are seeking to have the case against them dismissed this week on the grounds that the High Court has no jurisdiction to hear the claims because they have state immunity.
The claimants lawyer, Tom Otty QC, said this could not apply because the claim alleged that the illegal activity was authorised by Qatar’s head of state.
Al-Hajri is the brother of Sheikha Al-Anoud, the second wife of Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar, who is also the commander-in-chief of the Qatar Armed Forces and guarantor of the Constitution.
Al-Hajri purchased the Ritz for £800 million in 2020.
Back in June last year, solicitors representing Al-Hajri, Carter-Ruck, issued a libel claim against the Times which contained the following from a spokesperson:
“There is absolutely no truth in these allegations. Mr Al-Hajri has never participated – directly or indirectly – in the funding of any form of terrorism or extremism, whether relating to Syria or otherwise. The Times is aware of this but has proceeded to publish nonetheless, allowing itself to become part of a politically-motivated project intended to discredit Qatari interests. It must now face the consequences of this”.