Qatar’s Ambassador to Belgium Abdulrahman bin Mohammed Sulaiman al-Khulaifi allegedly offered a foreign consultant 750,000 euros ($879,805) to keep secret details that exposed Doha as funding Lebanon's Hezbollah, according to the Jerusalem Post, which says the consultant named al-Khulaifi in an exclusive.
Al Arabiya English previously reported the allegations, first made in German newspaper Die Zeit, but the Qatari diplomat was unnamed at the time.
Now, the consultant at the heart of the case known anonymously as Jason G., has reportedly outed Qatari Ambassador al-Khulaifi to the Jerusalem Post as the diplomat who allegedly paid him thousands of dollars during secret meetings and offered a much larger sum in return for him not revealing Qatar’s alleged funding of Hezbollah.
Read the initial report here: Qatar paid to stop consultant revealing terror funding of Hezbollah: Report
What are the allegations?
The original report by German news outlet Die Zeit said the security consultant known as “Jason G.” has evidence that the Qatari government was aware of Qatari groups funding Hezbollah, which is designated as a terrorist organization by countries including the US and Germany.
Jason G., who reportedly worked for various security and intelligence agencies and ran a business in Qatar, told Zeit he came across the information while working in Doha.
“There were money flows from several rich [Qataris] and exiled Lebanese people from Doha to Hezbollah ... The donations are said to have been processed with the knowledge of influential government officials through a charity organization in Doha,” reported Zeit.
The dossier of information compiled by Jason G., seen in part by Zeit reporters, has “concrete evidence that money is flowing from the Gulf to terrorist groups,” and “would increase pressure on Qatar and possibly lead to sanctions,” according to the report.
Zeit also reported that Jason G. said he had come across information of an arms deal from Eastern Europe that was being handled by a Qatar-based company.
Did Qatar pay to keep the report quiet?
According to Zeit, the Qatari diplomat that the Jerusalem Post says is Ambassador al-Khulaifi, met with Jason G. and paid him 10,000 euros ($11,426) in cash on several occasions.
The contractor also said he was later given another 100,000 euros, although Zeit reported “there is no written evidence” of these transactions.
The meetings allegedly occurred after Jason G. presented his dossier to Michael Inacker, the head of German public relations firm WMP, which had previously worked in Qatar.
Inacker reportedly put Jason G. in touch with what Zeit reported as a “top Qatar diplomat” he knew personally after receiving confirmation from a German security source that Jason G.’s information was “potentially interesting,” and concluding that the dossier could be worth millions of dollars.
Zeit reported that Jason G. claims he met with the diplomat over lunch in Brussels in early 2019, the first of “half a dozen meeting’s between G. and the Qatari diplomat” in which the diplomat gave Jason G. the 10,000-euro payments.
The Qatari diplomat reportedly told Jason G. that “he was glad that G. was ready to help ‘tidy up’ his own country,” adding that “the intention is to use the information from the dossier to remove ‘shady people in their own ranks,’” reported Zeit.
In July 2019, Jason G. reportedly entered a deal with the Qatari diplomat, according to a contract seen by Zeit and confirmed by Jason G.’s Berlin lawyer.
The contract stipulated that Jason G. would work as a consultant for Qatar and promise not to release his information in return for Doha not prosecuting him for espionage. The consultant then reportedly provided the Qatari diplomat with “names of donors and supporters” who gave money to Hezbollah, “including an influential general.”
Confidentiality agreement falls through
According to Zeit, the agreement between Jason G. and the Qatari diplomat now named as al-Khulaifi fell through, despite an offer of 750,000 euros to keep the information quiet, in part because of anti-Semitic comments made by the Qataris during the meetings.
“I only made the first deal because the Qatari people had promised that they would put these financiers out of circulation,” Zeit quoted Jason G. as saying.
According to the report, Jason G. had been “horrified” at anti-Semitic comments made by Qatari officials, who referred to the “Jews” as their enemies in meetings with Jason G.
At the beginning of May, Jason G. met again for a discussion with the lobbyist Inacker, this time at the WMP headquarters in Berlin.
According to Zeit, the two discussed Qatar’s offer of a confidentiality agreement concerning the financing of Hezbollah. Inacker acknowledged the existence of a confidentiality agreement, as did Jason G.’s lawyer.
According to the report, Jason G. said that he told his Berlin lawyer not to sign the confidentiality agreement under any circumstances.
Zeit also reported that Jason G. had already contacted the Israeli embassy through his Berlin lawyer and offered his services to the Israelis, apparently due to this reaction to the Qatari official’s anti-Jewish comments.
Qatar is accused of financing terror groups by the Arab Quartet of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, who cut off diplomatic relations with Doha in 2017.