Tampa attorney forces Qatari emir’s brother into legal corner

Special Tampa attorney forces Qatari emir’s brother into legal corner
Two of Sheikh Khaled's employees are prepared to reveal under oath in court details of lurid accusations that he engaged in sex and drug parties. (Facebook)
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Updated 18 December 2019

Tampa attorney forces Qatari emir’s brother into legal corner

Tampa attorney forces Qatari emir’s brother into legal corner
  • Plaintiffs preparing to testify that Qatar emir’s brother ordered the killing of targets allegedly blackmailing him with claims of sex parties

A Florida attorney has succeeded in forcing Qatari Sheikh Khaled Al-Thani to either respond to a lawsuit accusing him of ordering two former American security employees to kill individuals he believed were involved in embarrassing and blackmailing him, or face a Federal Court default judgment.
The US District Court for the Middle District of Florida has accepted that Tampa attorney Rebecca Castaneda has successfully served Sheikh Khaled— the brother of Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani — with a legal order to either appear in court or default and accept a court judgment in favor of the two former employees, Matthew Pittard and Matthew Allende.
Among causes of action named in the lawsuit is an allegation that when Sheikh Khaled discovered that Pittard had helped an American escape from his palace in Doha, he fired Pittard and threatened to kill him. After Sheikh Khaled refused to give Allende time off after a three-day party, the employee escaped from the sheikh’s palace by scaling a six-meter-high fence, shattering one of his legs in the process.   
Castaneda told Arab News that the two employees are prepared to reveal under oath in court details of lurid accusations that Sheikh Khaled — a playboy race car driver who competes around the world through his Massachusetts company Al-Anabi Racing LLC — engaged in sex and drug parties involving homosexuality that were part of a blackmail scheme.
“Sheikh Al-Thani and Al-Anabi Racing USA LLC have been served. His legal options now are to respond to the suit by either admitting or denying what the plaintiffs allege,” Castaneda said.
“The alternative is that the sheikh can refuse to answer the charges in court. In that case, the judge would issue a default judgment against him.” 
A default judgment in the US would allow the plaintiffs, Pittard and Allende, to win their case.
Castaneda said that Sheikh Khaled was personally served with legal documents sent to Al-Anabi Racing LLC on Friday, Dec. 13 — a day that is traditionally considered “bad luck” by Americans.
 “Serving a foreign defendant can be difficult. It is especially difficult in cases where a country is not a member of certain legal treaties. There was never a question as to whether he would actually be served. It was merely a question of how long it would take. Six months. Six years. He was absolutely going to be served,” said Castaneda, who has been trying to force Sheikh Khaled to appear and answer claims against him in the Florida Federal Court since the lawsuit was filed in July.
Castaneda said that Sheikh Khaled has until Jan. 2, 2020 to formally respond to the lawsuit or face a default Federal Court judgment that could severely affect his multiple companies and investments in the US and other countries where the US legal jurisdiction is binding.
The attorney said that Pittard and Allende are prepared to detail in open court the individuals and the reasons Sheikh Khaled ordered the alleged killings, as well as the sheikh’s threats to kill one of the two plaintiffs.
In one case, Sheikh Khaled is alleged to have ordered the killing of a Los Angeles-based drug dealer who was trying to blackmail the sheikh with claims he had photos and videos of him taking part in drug and homosexual sex parties.
“We don’t know the veracity of the drug dealer’s claims, but the sheikh took them seriously and asked Pittard to kill the blackmailer,” Castaneda said.
In another case, Castaneda said Sheikh Khaled ordered Pittard to murder a Moroccan woman who was a friend of the sheikh’s wife.
Castaneda said that Sheikh Khaled feared the woman was feeding embarrassing information about him to a Saudi national at a time when his brother, Sheikh Tamim, and Qatar were engaged in an international row with Saudi Arabia and three other Arab countries.
Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates broke ties with Qatar and expelled their diplomats in June 2017 over accusations that Sheikh Tamim and Doha were funding and enabling terrorism.
If Sheikh Khaled fails to appear before the Federal Court, Federal Judge Thomas P. Barber could rule against him, imposing fines, penalties and judgments.
Pittard and Allende are seeking $33 million in the lawsuit against the Qatari royal, accusing him of not only threatening their lives but also damaging their ability to work.
Castaneda also expanded the original lawsuit, filed in July 23, 2019, to include 18 of Sheikh Khaled’s aliases. Castaneda said that the sheikh has used variations of his name on businesses, bank accounts and property that he owns.
The lawsuit identifies 21 variations of Al-Anabi Racing LLC, including Al-Anabi Racing USA LLC.
A telephone call to Al-Anabi Racing’s offices at 27 Pill Hill Lane in Duxbury, Massachusetts, went unanswered. The company sponsored five cars at last year’s National Hot Rod Racing Association Pro Mod races.
Also named as defendants in the original lawsuit are Sheikh Khaled’s companies Geo Strategic Defense Solutions (GSDS) and KH Holdings, alleging violations of the US Fair Labor Standards Act and violating US laws.
Castaneda said that KH Holdings has already been properly served and could be defaulted at any time. GSDS has yet to be served.