June 21, 2021

Qatar Orders Arrest of Finance Minister Over Misuse of Funds

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Qatar’s prosecutor ordered the arrest of Finance Minister Ali Sharif Al-Emadi to question him over alleged abuse of power and misuse of public funds, a state-run news agency said.

The country’s ruling emir said he’d relieved Al-Emadi of his office and entrusted his duties to the current Minister of Commerce and Industry, Ali Al Kuwari, according to an announcement released hours after arrest was made public.

Al-Emadi was named finance minister a day after Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani took over leadership of the country in June 2013, and has held the role since. The prosecutor has launched an investigation, Qatar News Agency said Thursday. No further details were immediately available.

Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

The arrest was unusual, because allegations of criminal conduct by senior state officials or members of ruling families in the Gulf are typically addressed behind closed doors. Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s declared anti-corruption drive in 2017, which targeted royals and businesspeople, was an exception.

Qatar’s dollar bonds held on to most of their earlier gains following the news, with the yield on the securities due 2050 down about 4 basis points to 3.4%. The country’s stock market had already closed for the weekend.

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