Qatari Finance Minister arrested over misuse of funds

Qatari Finance Minister arrested over misuse of funds

While he is not part of the royal ruling class, he comes from an affluent and influential family with large investments in the country

Qatar’s prosecutor ordered the arrest of Finance Minister Ali Sharif Al-Emadi to question him over an alleged abuse of power and misuse of public funds, state-run Qatar News Agency reported.

Al Emadi, who has held the role since 2013, also serves as the chairman of Qatar National Bank’s board, is president of the executive board of Qatar Airways, and is on the board of Qatar Investment Authority.

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Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani also asked Trade and Industry Minister Ali bin Ahmed al-Kuwari to "carry out the duties of minister of finance", it added on its Twitter page.

While there have been previous high-level arrests in corruption cases in Qatar, official sources said Emadi is the highest-profile figure to face such allegations under Sheikh Tamim.

"The attorney general ordered the arrest of Minister of Finance Ali Shareef al-Emadi, (to) question him on what was mentioned in reports regarding crimes related to civil service that involved damage to public money, abuse of function and abuse of power," state media said.

The Qatar News Agency said that an investigation had been launched, but did not give any further details.

While he is not part of the royal ruling class, he comes from an affluent and influential family with large investments in the country, including trade and real estate.

Hussein Ibish, a Washington-based Gulf expert, tweeted on Thursday that it was "pretty remarkable" that Emadi was arrested "on suspicion of corruption and embezzlement".

Qatar-based diplomats told AFP that the arrest had come as a surprise.

"This is actually great, it shows Qatar is taking corruption seriously -- if that is what it is found to be -- and helps build the image of the rule of law being complied with,"' a diplomat in Doha told AFP.

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