DOHA: Qatar announced Sunday the nation’s former finance minister faced charges including bribery and embezzlement from his time in the post.
Ali Sharif Al-Emadi, 54, was arrested in May 2021 when he was one of the most influential business executives in the Middle East. He will face trial with other defendants, Qatar News Agency reported.
The former minister has been charged with “bribery, appropriation of public money, abuse of office, abuse of power, damage to public money and money laundering,” prosecutors said. It wasn’t immediately clear if Al-Emadi had a lawyer.
The state news report also did not elaborate on how much money the former minister is accused of stealing.
Al-Emadi rose to prominence in the country as the current emir ascended the throne and after overseeing the transformation of Qatar National Bank into the largest lender in the Middle East.
Just ahead of Al-Emadi’s arrest, Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, revised the law to end immunity from prosecution for ministers.
Al-Emadi also served as chairman of the bank, on the board of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund and as president of the executive board of long-haul carrier Qatar Airways. According to the Las Vegas-based Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute, the Qatar Investment Authority holds assets of $475 billion.
Prosecutors said the investigation had been completed “by interrogating the accused, hearing witnesses, and examining the technical reports.”
Diplomats with knowledge of the investigation said that scores of business people and government offiials have been questioned in the case.
Qatar recently has sought to boost its international reputation through hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup and promoting political reforms. Sheikh Tamim also recently replaced the country’s prime minister.