Qatari developer slams 'misleading' Carillion claims

The former bosses of the British construction giant had blamed Qatar's refusal to settle a £200 million bill for its collapse

epa06443477 A Carillion crane at a construction site in London, Britain, 16 January 2018. Thousands of jobs in the UK and abroad maybe lost following the news that Construction company Carillion is to go into liquidation. Talks between lenders and the UK government has failed to reach a deal.  EPA/ANDY RAIN
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The Qatari developer being blamed for late payments to Carillion, and thereby contributing to its downfall, has said the claims against it are “misleading”.

In a written statement to MPs as part of an inquiry into the collapse of the British construction giant, Msheireb Properties said “several of the allegations made against them were misleading”.

According to The Telegraph newspaper, it has also provided information to the MPs to support this, although the evidence has not been made public.

It came after the former bosses of Carillion said Qatar’s refusal to settle a £200 million bill helped push the company over the edge.

In a post-mortem on the firm’s failure in front of MPs earlier this month, interim chief executive Keith Cochrane said Carillion was not paid for an unnamed project in Qatar for 18 months.

Msheireb were overseeing Carillion’s largest contract in the Gulf region, a $500 million deal to develop downtown Doha ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Ex-boss Richard Howson added that he went to Qatar almost every month to try and negotiate the payments. “I felt like a bailiff, just to try and collect cash,” he said.

However, a spokesman for Msheireb said on Wednesday that the claims against it are “misleading and inaccurate”.

According to The Telegraph, the developer has said it is now "exploring all legal options" as it seeks to recoup the cash it says it is owed from Carillion, which it says amounts to around £200 million.

Sources close to the developer added that it is considering whether to chase Carillion for the money via the courts in the UK or Qatar.


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On Thursday, accountancy firm KPMG, which audited Carillion for 19 years, said that its directors were wrong to try and blame the Qataris for the company’s collapse.

Speaking to MPs, Peter Meehan, partner at KPMG, said: "I can't see how [non-payment from Qatar] was the cause in itself at all.

"The complex nature of the contracts and the judgements and estimates that you heard from the director panel is such that there were a wide range of judgements and estimates involved, and there's a wide range of acceptable answers, there's no right answer in terms of those judgements and estimates and contracts."

Carillion, which employed nearly 20,000 people in Britain, collapsed on January 15 when its banks halted funding, triggering Britain's biggest corporate demise in a decade and forcing the government to step in to guarantee public services from school meals to roadworks.

One of Carillion’s most problematic areas is believed to have been the Arabian Gulf, where it employs 19,000 workers. The company announced a massive £845 million write down last July, of which £314 million was attributed to its Middle East operations.