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Suing Qatari firm over ‘Housing Bank case’ a possibility — social security fund

By Dana Al Emam - Aug 22,2015 - Last updated at Aug 23,2015

Social Security Investment Fund Chairman Suleiman Hafez speaks at a press conference in Amman on Friday (Petra photo)

AMMAN — It has not been decided yet if the Social Security Investment Fund (SSIF) will sue the Qatari firm involved in the “Housing Bank Stakes” case, “but the door is open”, the fund’s chairman, Suleiman Hafez said Friday.

On Thursday evening, Hafez announced that the fund won the case filed by Al Musabalah Company at the International Arbitration Court in Zurich, Switzerland, in which the firm claimed buying the fund’s stake in the Housing Bank for Trade and Finance.

In the lawsuit, filed some two years ago, the firm wanted the SSIF to pay over JD93 million for failing to implement the alleged agreement to sell its stake at Jordan’s second largest bank, in addition to a 6.5 per cent penalty.

Hafez, a former finance minister, told reporters that the court’s decision rejected all claims made by the plaintiff, declared the signature on the alleged agreement forged and obliged the claimant company to pay arbitration fees, which reach up to JD2 million.

However, the firm, registered in the Central American country of Belize under the name KRIC, has the right to appeal the decision within 30 days after the arbitration date.

The official said the firm presented forged signatures and fake documents throughout the investigation period, a matter that prolonged the decision several times, as the court had to examine the new data.

But when the court attempted to put an end to the delays, the firm sought to “circulate fabricated e-mails with the signature of SSIF employees” declaring the alleged agreement to be true, Hafez said. 

The authorities, he said, followed up on the e-mail and tracked its source to a PC in a café in Amman’s Rabiah neighbourhood.

The “qualified” Jordanian and Swiss lawyers that the SSIF hired were able to prove the fund’s innocence in the case, noted Hafez, adding that the money of Jordanians must not be touched.

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