Kuwaiti Sheikh to fight ruling

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SHEIKH Fahad Al-Sabah - the member of Kuwait's royal family caught in a web of financial intrigue - plans to appeal against last week's High Court ruling which found him party to the misappropriation of $900m (pounds 560m) from the Kuwait Investment Office, writes Peter Koenig.

The ruling, handed down by Justice Mance of London's Commercial Court, found Sheikh Fahad guilty of participating in a conspiracy to spirit funds out of the KIO's Spanish subsidiary, Grupo Torras. It held the Sheikh liable for damages of almost $500m.

Sheikh Fahad, who now lives in the Bahamas, said he would fight the ruling on a variety of grounds. He declared on Friday: "This case is part of a witch-hunt by people who do not have Kuwait's best interests at heart ... This case is about international politics. I am proud of what I did and the part I played in the liberation of Kuwait."

Sheikh Fahad's defence is that the money in question was given to countries and leaders, including Serbia's Slobodan Milosevic, in return for support for Kuwait after Iraq's invasion of the country in 1990.

Founded in 1982, and a power in the City between then and the 1991 Gulf War, the KIO enjoyed considerable autonomy under the chairmanship of Sheikh Fahad until his resignation when Grupo Torras went into receivership.

Fouad Jaffar, the former managing director of the KIO in London, was also found guilty of dishonestly receiving money. He will not appeal against the decision.

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