A British lawmaker, known for entertaining pro-Saudi bias, is revealed to have been paid handsomely to advise and address an anti-Qatar conference in London, also joined by other bribed British figures.
Daniel Kawczynski was paid through an obscure company named Akta Group to the tune of £15,000 ($20,700) towards assisting the conduct of the so-called “Qatar, Global Security & Stability Conference,” American media firm BuzzFeed revealed on Sunday.
Last March, Riyadh paid him $9,200 to spend, while trying to strengthen Saudi-British ties. The event was held last September. It was organized by an anti-Doha Qatari exile and also joined by Iain Duncan Smith, former Tory leader and minister, former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown, and BBC World Affairs Editor John Simpson.
The three were also paid thousands to address the event, Simpson receiving a note from the BBC for taking the fee.
The event was supposed to draw in hundreds, but was generally shunned by the Qatari diaspora. Last June, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and the UAE imposed a trade and diplomatic embargo on Qatar, accusing it of supporting terrorism, an allegation strongly denied by Doha.
The Saudi-led quartet presented Qatar with a list of demands and gave it an ultimatum to comply with them or face consequences. The demands included closing the Al Jazeera broadcaster, removing Turkish troops from Qatar’s soil, scaling back ties with Iran, and ending relations with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood movement.
Doha, however, refused to meet the demands and denounced them as unreasonable. Last December, the Middle East Eye news portal reported that British Prime Minister Theresa May, whom Saudi Arabia has conferred with the Order of King Abdulaziz Al Saud, has received several gifts from the kingdom, including an ornament, a clock, and a medal.
Lavish Arab gifts for UK politicians: Caviar, Rolex, rugs: Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Jordan, and Oman are the countries which continue to buy lavish gifts for British politicians, newly released UK government data show.
Saudi Arabia “has splashed out on 20 luxury Christmas hampers for Conservative Party ministers since 2010,” the report said.—Agencies