Ali Sharif Al-Emadi, a former Qatari finance minister who also served as a chairman of the board of directors at Qatar Airways (QR, Doha Hamad International), has been handed a preliminary 20-year prison sentence on money laundering charges exceeding USD5.6 billion, Reuters reported citing court documents.

As ch-aviation previously reported, Al-Emadi, who is now 55, was arrested in May 2021 when he was one of the most influential business executives in the Middle East. According to reports at the time, the investigation was related only to his activities as finance minister and not his other roles. He was minister from 2013 until his arrest and simultaneously headed the state-owned airline.

A criminal court has now issued its sentence and also fined Al-Emadi a total of QAR61 billion rials (USD16.8 billion), triple the sum he allegedly laundered. He was convicted on charges of bribery, abuse of power, and damage to public funds in addition to money laundering, but the document did not specify further details. He can appeal against the conviction, which the court issued on January 10 and Reuters reported on January 17.

The court also found Nawaf bin Jassim bin Jabor Al Thani, a member of Qatar’s ruling family, guilty of misusing public funds, sentencing him to six years behind bars. Fourteen other individuals received sentences too, in a case that has stunned the country’s financial establishment. A lawyer representing one of the defendants confirmed the contents of the court document that Reuters saw.