Doha Bank fails in UK high court bid to strike out Syrian refugees' damages claim

Bank is accused of allowing money to be channelled to Al Qaeda-linked Al Nusra Front

London's High Court has dismissed a claim by Doha Bank to throw out a claim for damages against it. EPA
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Britain's High Court has refused a request from Qatar's Doha Bank to strike out a damages claim brought against it by four Syrian refugees.

The refugees have lodged a case for damages at London's High Court against Doha Bank, as well as brothers Moutaz and Ramez Al Khayyat.

They alleged the brothers used Doha Bank accounts to channel money to the Al Nusra Front, an Al Qaeda affiliate.

The Syrians claim they suffered “severe physical and psychiatric injuries” at the hands of the terrorist group.

Mr Justice Swift said: “It is a claim for damages for personal injury and damage to property, all of which occurred in Syria between 2012 and 2017.

“The claimants are all Syrian nationals, living in Syria until they were forced to flee by the activities of Al Nusra Front, which has been identified as a terrorist organisation by various countries, and by the United Nations.

“Put very briefly, the claimants’ case is that they were the victims of actions taken by Al Nusra Front and that the defendants are liable to compensate them.”

The bank has previously said the claim against it is groundless and a spokesman for the Al Khayyats said they denied all the “baseless” allegations.

Hannah Brown, QC, for the bank, had raised the question why the state of Qatar was not part of the legal action, after the claimants had alleged it was involved, and accused the claimants of putting forward a case in which they did not entirely believe.

However, Mr Justice Swift refused the bank's request to discharge the case.

“The bank’s application to strike out the claimants’ case is refused,” he said.

Updated: April 15, 2022, 6:44 AM