Qatari man in basketball lawsuit gets diplomatic immunity

December five at 7:27 PM

WASHINGTON — A Qatari investor who as soon as met with Donald Trump’s presidential transition workforce has been given “complete immunity from all sides of civil litigation” after a lawsuit accused him of stiffing fellow traders in rapper Ice Dice’s Three-on-Three professional basketball league.

The U.S. State Division known Ahmed al-Rumaihi’s diplomatic standing in September, in step with paperwork comparable the lawsuit that had been filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court docket for the Central District of California.

Ice Dice and Hollywood government Jeff Kwatinetz say the Qatari investor didn’t honor a number of million greenbacks in monetary commitments to BIG3 Basketball LLC.

The instances of al-Rumaihi’s diplomatic standing stay unclear. The State Division lists al-Rumaihi as an attache for Qatar. Tuesday’s submitting describes al-Rumaihi as Qatar’s business attache for funding.

However Qatar’s media attache in Washington, Jassim al-Thani, previous this 12 months advised The Related Press that since March 2017, “Mr. al-Rumaihi has now not represented the State of Qatar in reliable issues. Neither is Qatar fascinated with any of his personal trade issues.” Al-Thani didn’t reply Wednesday to a request for touch upon al-Rumaihi’s present standing.

Attorneys for the league say al-Rumaihi left his Los Angeles house for Qatar months in the past to keep away from his deposition in a case that has concerned allegations that he tried to make use of his league connections to achieve get entry to to President Donald Trump via Steve Bannon, who was once leader strategist on the White Space on the time.

Ice Dice on Wednesday tweeted a hyperlink to a information tale concerning the submitting, including: “The usa First? Yeah proper.”

A consultant for al-Rumaihi didn’t in an instant reply to requests for remark.

TV pictures confirmed al-Rumaihi along Qatar’s overseas minister when he visited Trump’s transition officers at Trump Tower on Dec. 12, 2016. Al-Rumaihi was once a part of the Qatari delegation that was once greeted by means of Trump legal professional Michel Cohen within the Trump Tower foyer earlier than coming into an elevator.

Al-Thani mentioned al-Rumaihi accompanied the overseas minister to Trump Tower however “didn’t take part in any conferences.”

A spokeswoman for al-Rumaihi advised the AP previous this 12 months that al-Rumaihi and Cohen had met to talk about doable Qatari investments in U.S. infrastructure whilst al-Rumaihi was once head of Qatar Investments, a department of the Qatar Funding Authority.

“Mr. Cohen mentioned he will require a $1 million charge for his services and products. At no level did Mr. al-Rumaihi or somebody else from Qatar Investments pay the asked charge, nor did Mr. al-Rumaihi ever entertain making any such cost,” the spokeswoman’s remark mentioned.

A consultant for Cohen didn’t in an instant go back a request for remark Wednesday.

Kwatinetz, Bannon’s former trade spouse, in a sworn declaration within the basketball lawsuit previous this 12 months describes being invited on a hike in January with al-Rumaihi.

“Mr. al-Rumaihi mentioned to me that he sought after to put across a message from the Qatari Govt to Steve Bannon,” Kwatinetz mentioned within the report. “Mr. al-Rumaihi asked I arrange a gathering between him, the Qatari executive and Steven Bannon, and to inform Steve Bannon that Qatar would underwrite all of his political efforts in go back for his fortify.”

Kwatinetz mentioned within the sworn remark he in an instant rebuffed the request, indignant, and mentioned neither he nor Bannon would ever take or entertain any such bribe.

“Mr. al-Rumaihi laughed after which mentioned to me that I shouldn’t be naïve, that such a lot of Washington politicians take our cash, and mentioned ‘do you suppose (former Trump adviser Michael) Flynn became down our cash?’,” Kwatinetz mentioned within the declaration.

An legal professional for Flynn didn’t in an instant go back a request for remark.

Qatar is without doubt one of the largest spenders in Washington’s affect business and has been on an enormous spending spree aimed toward profitable over hearts and minds within the U.S. since ultimate 12 months, when its neighbors attempted to isolate the rustic.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and its different neighbors minimize diplomatic ties and in June 2017 started a blockade of Qatar over claims the small, gas-rich monarchy was once investment terrorism and disrupting Gulf solidarity.

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Suderman reported from Richmond, Virginia. Observe Tami Abdollah on Twitter at https://twitter.com/latams

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