Sheikh Khaled Al-Thani, the brother of Qatari emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, ordered a member of his security staff to murder two people, according to a lawsuit filed by two former employees.
It was submitted to a Florida court on July 23 by Matthew Pittard, a security professional, and Matthew Allende, who was hired to be a round-the-clock medic for Sheikh Khaled, a racing-car driver.
Pittard claims that he was threatened at gunpoint in September 2017 after refusing to carry out Sheikh Khaled’s orders to murder an unnamed man and woman the sheikh said were threats to his social reputation. The incident is said to have happened in Los Angeles, California.
The following year, according to the lawsuit, Sheikh Khaled imprisoned an American in his palace in Qatar. The unnamed captive was arrested on Sheikh Khaled’s orders and held at for a time at Onaiza Police Station in Doha, as well as at his residence, it is claimed.
When he discovered that Pittard had helped the captive escape, the sheikh told him “he would kill him, bury his body in the desert, and kill Pittard’s family,” it is alleged. Pittard said Sheikh Khaled threatened him with a Glock 26 automatic pistol and ordered him to reveal the whereabouts of the American or “pay the price.” He was later fired.
According to the court documents, Allende was also threatened with a gun, and forced to work long hours with little time off. He eventually climbed a 2-meter security fence and jumped from the top of a 6-meter wall to escape Sheik Khaled’s Qatari compound after he was refused permission to leave for a previously arranged day off.
“There is no circumstance in any country where asking someone to execute two people on someone’s behalf is appropriate,” said lawyer Rebecca Lynn Castaneda, who is representing Pittard and Allende. “It’s not OK. It’s not acceptable. It’s illegal. It’s pretty egregious. Pittard and Allende said there were several situations in which they were put by the defendant that were totally inappropriate.”
She said her clients are seeking $33 million in damages because Sheikh Khaled’s actions prevented them from pursuing their careers, including interference in a security, law-enforcement and arms-brokerage contract Pittard had negotiated with the Police Training Institute in Doha. Sheikh Khaled is being sued personally, and his two companies, GEO Strategic Defense Solutions and KH Holdings are also named in the lawsuit.
Sheikh Khaled “created an environment of fear and intimidation. Defendant’s behavior has gone beyond a term of employment and intentionally extended into Pittard’s business and personal and professional lives,” the lawsuit claims.
Castaneda said the judge had issued a summons ordering Sheikh Khaled to appear in court. She said she expected the legal process to continue for many months and the case is “a long way from trial.”