Inner City Press





In Other Media-eg New Statesman, AJE, FP, Georgia, NYTAzerbaijan, CSM Click here to contact us     .



These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis
,



Share |   

Follow on TWITTER
SDNY tweets
MRL on Patreon

Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

CONTRIBUTE

(FP Twitterati 100, 2013)

ICP on YouTube

BloggingHeads.tv
Sept 24, 2013

UN: Sri Lanka

VoA: NYCLU

FOIA Finds  

Google, Asked at UN About Censorship, Moved to Censor the Questioner, Sources Say, Blaming UN - Update - Editorial

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"
 

 

 


Community
Reinvestment

Bank Beat

Freedom of Information
 

How to Contact Us



Thani of Qatar Covered Up Trafficking & Sues Hanke in SDNY ProtonMail Anonymity Cited

Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon

FEDERAL COURTHOUSE, Sept 4 – The Qatar ruling family's abuse of employees and laws was exposed earlier this year in an off the record initial conference at in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on February 14, 2019; Inner City Press was the only media present.

Inner City Press wrote an exclusive story that day, February 14, then more in the following few days as more sources contacted us. Now it has learned that the UK's Daily Mail days later on February 21 dubiously claimed an exclusive on the story, here.

  But more a year later, with UNSG Guterres' favorite Al Jazeera not mentioning it, and after the Qatari royals and their law firm have covered up human trafficking and modern slavery by paying hush money under the Fair Labor Standards Act, see below, Inner City Press covering the SDNY found in the docket a Qatar case.

  Mohammed Thani A.T. Al Thani is suing Alan J. Hanke for fraudulent inducement to cheat him out of millions of dollars. Hanke missed the $2,400,000 MDA payment in March. Hanke blamed "the Eid holiday" and "some continuing unrest in Hong Kong."

  Now on February 16, SDNY Judge John P. Cronan held a proceeding largely focused on discovery, electronic discovery. Excuses were made, blaming the anonymity of ProtonMail email accounts.   Inner City Press will continue to cover this case. It is Thani A.T. Al Thani v. Hanke et al ., 20-cv-4765 (Cronan)

Back on June 1 from inside the SDNY Inner City Press reported that the Qatari royals' lawyers were on the cusp of succeeding in burying the case in mediation by JAMS. A low-ball settlement - except for attorneys fees -- was submitted to SDNY Judge J. Paul Oetken on June 1. The total is $150,000, fully half being attorneys' fees; it is signed by the royals without any admission.

 And now on June 10, this: "ORDER: The proposed settlement at Docket Number 36-1 is approved, and the case is hereby DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. The Court shall retain jurisdiction solely to resolve any disputes arising from the settlement agreement and the settlement of this action. The Clerk of Court is directed to close the case. SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge J. Paul Oetken on 6/10/2019) (jca)."  So the issue of human trafficking has been buried, for money, in the SDNY.

Tellingly, the cover letter stated that "Defendants – who are members of the royal family of Qatar – noted that if they received certification from the State Department, they would potentially be considered diplomats entitled to full immunity, resulting in immediate dismissal of the litigation for lack of subject matter jurisdiction." So the Qatar royals used the threat of support from the U.S. State Department to cover up human trafficking. We'll have more on this - and there is more on Patreon, here.

Earlier the Qatari royals' lawyer complained of a text message from Benjamin Boyd.  Judge Oetken noted to "uncertainty as to how Defendants caught sight of the offending text message in the first place," left it open to pursue the issue later, without prejudice.

  On April 17 the Qatari royals' lawyers filed a motion to stay the proceeding past the June 14 return date, for mediation by JAMS. Judge Oetken's order on the motion is listed but no live in the docket.

   The plaintiffs' lawyers, Pardalis & Novavicka through Araidne Panagopoulou engaged in other mundane FLSA litigation in front of Judge Oetken even on May 20, here, seem unaware of the explosive human rights aspects revealed / revealable in this case. It's one in which the public, through the Press, must stay alert, and on Notice - watch this site.

On April 10 we reported that these Qatari royals, stating that they are diplomats, are seeking to further extend the case, writing that "Defendants Sheikh Jassim Abdulaziz Al-Thani and Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani (“Sheikh and Sheikha”) are Qatari residents and diplomats, and as a result, frequently travel to Doha for reasons pertaining to their diplomatic duties and their participation in other civic engagements. At the moment, Sheikh and Sheikha (and members of their staff, many of whom are anticipated to be document custodians in the litigation) are scheduled to be in Qatar for the remainder of the month of March, through the beginning of April to prepare for and attend the formal opening of the Qatar National Museum (as Sheikha is the Chairperson of Qatar Museums). The parties have actively participated in written discovery thus far; they have already exchanged document requests and interrogatories, and they are in the process of negotiating a confidentiality stipulation. However, as a result of Sheikh and Sheikha’s (and their staff’s) travel schedules, Defendants anticipate some subsequent delays in the upcoming stages of discovery, especially pertaining to data collection of ESI from custodians (as requested by Plaintiffs) and the scheduling of their depositions (which are currently noticed for April 16, 2019). In order to ensure that Defendants are able to collect, process, review and produce ESI responsive to Plaintiffs’ document requests, and schedule mutually agreeable dates for depositions to take place in New York thereafter, Defendants respectfully request that the current discovery deadlines be modified as follows: Current Deadline Proposed Deadline Deposition Completion Date May 1, 2019 July 1, 2019 Completion of all Fact Discovery June 10, 2019 August 9, 2019 Status Conference June 14, 2019 August 16, 2019 (or any other date that is convenient for the Court)." Back to August?  Since its exclusive report that day, Inner City Press has been contacted by more employees and whistleblowers and a range of apparent legal violations by the Qatar royal family has come to light.

Beyond the failure to pay overtime which was the subject of the February 14 proceeding, Inner City Press is now informed that others of the Qatar royals' workers are brought in through JFK airport on private jets, into limousine that drive onto the tarmac. These employees are then made to work long hours with no protections in the mansion at 9 East 72nd Street in Manhattan.

Inner City Press is informed, tellingly, that one female worker from the Philippines in forced to sleep in front of  Sheikh Jassim bin Abdulaziz Al-Thani's bedroom room so that she can be ready to bring him food or water or even give massages at any hour. His wife Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani, the sister of Qatar's ruler, buys art for Qatar's museum and runs the "Reaching Out To Asia" foundation. Meanwhile her workers have their hair pulled and a tooth broken by her son. When workers are fired they are urged to fly to Doha where they would face arrest.

The scams work this way: the Qatari royals' employees signed contracts in Doha and then are told that their visas to the US, unless they are smuggled / trafficked in through the JFK Airport tarmac, are under the control of the royals. While waiting to be processed at JFK they are presented with a new less favorable contract and told if they do not sign it, they will not be admitted. If they work for the family in Qatar, they face imprisonment for any disagreement.

In New York the family's close protection guards, some without visas, brandish illegal large knives. NYPD was called when the royals sought to have one fired employee, Chantelle McGuffie, removed from her apartment at 221 East 50th Street near the UN. Still this family, these systematic crimes, have yet to be acted on by authorities including the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York despite the facts dragged through the SDNY court.

Inner City Press, in reporting this despite threats - at the UN, Qatar's state media Al Jazeera has worked with UNSG Antonio Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric to have Inner City Press roughed up and banned, see Columbia Journalism Review here - aims to put an end to this impunity. Watch this site.

Background: the sister of the ruler of Qatar is being sued by at least three employees who say they were made to work six days a week without being paid overtime, and were retaliated against. Inner City Press was the only media present at the initial pre trial conference on the case in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on February 14, and was tempted to object when the Qatari royal's lawyer from the Proskauer law firm urged SDNY Judge J. Paul Oetken for a confidentiality order.

Royals of a gas-rich emirate that has locked up poets for criticizing them, seeking to cover up their retaliation and refusal to pay overtime? It remains to be seen how much will be covered up in the case. The defendants are Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani and Sheikh Jassim bin Abdulaziz Al- Thani.

From the answer to the Complaint: "Defendants admit that Mr. Bancroft began his employment in Doha, Qatar and that he accompanied Defendants when they moved to New York, but otherwise deny the  allegations in Paragraph 39 of the Complaint.  40. Defendants deny the allegations in Paragraph 40 of the Complaint.  41. Defendants admit that Mr. Bancroft accompanied Defendants on their European travels in various countries during the summer of 2016, but upon information and belief,  otherwise deny the allegations in Paragraph 41 of the Complaint.    42. Defendants admit that Mr. Bancroft accompanied Defendants on their trip to Qatar in the summer of 2017, but otherwise deny the allegations in Paragraph 42 of the  Complaint.  43. Defendants admit that Mr. Bancroft accompanied Defendants on their European travels in various countries during the summer of 2018, but upon information and belief,  otherwise deny the allegations in Paragraph 43 of the Complaint.    44. Defendants admit that Mr. Bancroft traveled with the family to Miami and Boston."

 This is the life of corrupt royals and diplomats, such like those at the UN up to and including its Secretary General Antonio Guterres who lives alone in a $15 million mansion on Manhattan's Sutton Place (where he favors Qatar state media Al Jazeera, using it to oust the independent Press which questions him.) This is the world of immunity and impunity and now, it is urged, confidentiality. Inner City Press, now covering the SDNY daily, will have more on this. 


***

Feedback: Editorial [at] innercitypress.com

Box 20047, Dag Hammarskjold Station NY NY 10017



Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

 Copyright 2006-2019 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] innercitypress.com for