Qatar Bankers Must Reveal Emails Over Boycott Response

Financier David Rowland’s Banque Havilland SA got a boost in its fight against claims it helped orchestrate an economic boycott of Qatar, after a U.K. court ordered top officials at the nation’s central bank to hand over private emails.

A London lawyer for the Qataris had said that the governor Sheikh Abdulla bin Saoud Al-Thani didn’t have “operational responsibility” for the economic response to Qatar’s 2017 crisis, an argument that was dismissed by the Judge David Waksman.

“Given the amount of money that had to be pumped out by the QCB, I don’t find that particularly plausible,” the judge said. The central bank’s deputy governor as well as an official at the nation’s sovereign wealth fund must also turn over emails, he said.

Qatar sued Banque Havilland in London in 2019, accusing the lender of leading a financial attack with the aim of destabilizing the Qatari riyal. It’s relying on a presentation prepared by a Banque Havilland analyst that Qatar says detailed an attempt to deplete the country’s reserves and damage its ability to host soccer’s 2022 World Cup.

Qatar says it needed to make a “massive fiscal intervention,” pouring money into the economy at the same time as its neighbors blockaded the gas-rich nation. The central bank liquidated assets and injected $1.6 billion while the Qatar Investment Authority deposited some $20 billion with domestic banks.

In the short hearing, Banque Havilland lawyers didn’t explain why they wanted the documents, but the company is looking at details of the decision-making at the time of the Qatari response.

Lawyers from both sides of the dispute didn’t immediately respond to emails seeking further comment.

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