Qatari royal may be linked to US federal crime in kidney transplant case: LA Times

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Qatar’s Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad al-Thani, the youngest brother of Qatar’s current Emir, may have been involved in a US federal crime after facilitating a kidney transplant operation for one of his employees during his time in California, according to an investigation by the LA Times.

The report, published under the title “The true story of the heartthrob prince of Qatar and his time at USC,” went viral on Thursday after it revealed Sheikh Khalifa tried to bribe his way into a university, often missed classes, spent time gambling in Las Vegas, and was potentially involved in a federal crime linked to buying a human organ.

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When one of the members of Sheikh Khalifa’s entourage during his undergraduate years at USC needed a kidney transplant in 2014 after falling ill due to heavy usage of steroids, the prince is alleged to have funded the operation.

Mado Khaled, a competitive bodybuilder from Lebanon who had traveled to LA to work for Al Thani, received the kidney from a man who was brought in from Egypt.

Throughout the process, Khaled had shared several images on his Instagram page with his doctor at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center as well as of Sheikh Khalifa.

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“I’ll never forget the help and the support. Not today, not tomorrow and not even in a thousand year. Thanks God and thanks for sheik Khalifa bin Hamad al Thani,” Khaled wrote in a 2014 Instagram post of the prince.

The surgery, paid for by Qatar, was the only transplant operation in which a noncitizen received a kidney from a nonrelative conducted at the hospital that year, federal records obtained by the LA Times showed.

In the US, where transplants are heavily regulated and patients often wait for years before finding a viable donor, paying for an organ is a federal crime.

When asked whether the prince played a role in the transplant, Sheikh Khalifa’s lawyer David G. Keyko refused to answer questions and said the allegations were “a serious allegation which appears to be unfounded and lacking in both evidence and connection to our client.”

The Qatari government has not answered the LA Times’ request for an interview with the prince.

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