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Ileana Ros-Lehtinen will lobby to force Qatari sheikh to pay up in fraud case

“It is past time to right these wrongs.”

Former U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen will look to lobby on behalf of a group called the Swifthold Foundation (Swifthold) in an attempt to secure a judgment from a Qatari sheikh accused of fraud.

That’s according to a report from POLITICO.

After deciding to retire from Congress, Ros-Lehtinen took a lobbying gig at Akin Gump. Swifthold has now hired Akin Gump to lobby on its behalf in an ongoing case against Sheikh Fahad Bin Ahmad bin Mohamed Bin Thani.

Swifthold alleges the Sheikh’s company, Fast Trading Group, defrauded Swifthold after obtaining a $900 million bond back in 2009. According to a website used to advocate for the Sheikh to pay up, Fast Trading group then “stopped communicating with the Swifthold Foundation and breached the agreement by failing to perform its terms.”

Swifthold sued in the U.K. High Court to obtain a judgment against Fast Trading Group and the Sheikh. Eventually, the court ruled in favor of Swifthold, issuing a $6 billion judgment against the Sheikh and his company.

The Sheikh, however, is still based in Qatar, which could make enforcing that U.K. High Court ruling difficult.

That’s where Ros-Lehtinen and Akin Gump come in. Due to congressional ethics rules, Ros-Lehtinen is barred from lobby Congress until she’s been out of office for a year. Those rules would block such lobbying until Jan. 2020.

But Ros-Lehtinen can reach out to the White House, which could seek to put pressure on Qatar to enforce the payment.

“I have agreed to help obtain finality through enforcement of the Qatari court’s acknowledgment of the U.K. High Court judgment,” Ros-Lehtinen said according to Delta Capital Partners, an investment firm used by Swifthold.

“It is past time to right these wrongs. Qatar needs to see that this judgment is enforced in accordance with internationally accepted judicial standards and without further delay.”

A Swifthold spokesperson added, “We are hopeful that this expanded team, which won the judgment and now the writ of execution, will help prompt a timely resolution.”

Written By

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to ryan.t.nicol@gmail.com.

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