DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Qatar has paid $2.5 million to the regulation company of a former legal professional trendy under U.S. President George W. Bush to audit its efforts at stopping terrorism investment, a depend on the coronary heart of the Gulf diplomatic disaster that erupted final week.
John Ashcroft, in my opinion, will lead his Washington-based totally company’s efforts “to assess, verify and as important, improve the client’s anti-money laundering and counterterrorism financing” compliance and potentially lobby lawmakers and the media, according to documents filed with the U.S. Justice Department.
Qatar hiring Ashcroft, who become lawyer widespread all through the Sep 11 assaults after which helped push through the Patriot Act, regarded aimed toward appeasing Washington as numerous Gulf countries try to isolate it. Officials in Qatar, domestic to a chief U.S. Navy base, and Ashcroft’s company did now not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates severed diplomatic ties with Qatar, the host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and reduce off land, sea and air routes to the tiny peninsular state that is predicated on food imports. Its long-haul carrier Qatar Airways has also been impacted.
At the heart of the dispute are the long status allegations linking Qatar to local Islamist and militant corporations. Qatar denies helping terrorist businesses, but Western officers have often accused Qatar’s authorities of allowing or maybe encouraging the investment of a few Sunni extremists. Qatar additionally has hosted a pacesetter of Hamas, the militant Islamic organization ruling the Gaza Strip, as well as members of the Muslim Brotherhood, a Sunni Islamist organization that Gulf nations remember a danger to their hereditary rule.
The Ashcroft Law Firm filed the paperwork with the Justice Department’s National Security Division on Friday. Such reviews are required through the Foreign Agents Registration Act, first put in a region over concerns about Nazi propagandists operating within the U.S. In advance of World War II.
The field reviews display Ashcroft’s company “can also engage in outreach efforts to U.S. Authorities officials and/or speak with the media” regarding its findings.
“The firm knows the urgency of this matter and the want to talk correct information to both a wide constituency and sure home businesses and leaders,” a settlement among Qatar and Ashcroft’s company reads.
The settlement filed via Ashcroft’s firm was signed by using Ahmad al-Hammadi, the secretary well known of Qatar’s Foreign Ministry.
The lump sum up the front of $2.5 million is likewise uncommon for such lobbying efforts, probably signaling the urgency Qatar felt in getting its message heard in Washington. While U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has entreated Gulf countries no longer to improve the disaster, President Donald Trump repeatedly has criticized Qatar over its alleged aid of militants.
Hiring U.S. Firms to lobby American lawmakers is nothing new for the oil-and-gas-rich Gulf. Saudi Arabia especially has multiple firms representing its hobbies in the U.S. A latest Saudi-led effort to send American Navy veterans to lobby Congress proved controversial while some said they have been unaware the kingdom paid for their journeys to Washington.