By Andy Sambidge
Former Bank Alkhair chief Majid Bader Hashem Al-Refai convicted of money laundering
The High Criminal Court in Bahrain has sentenced a former senior banking official to five years in prison.
The court issued a ruling on Wednesday on the money laundering case against Majid Bader Hashem Al-Refai, the former CEO of Bank Alkhair (formerly known as Unicorn Investment Bank).
The bank said in a statement that Al-Refai was found guilty of money laundering, fraud, illegally soliciting donations without prior licensing from Bahraini authorities and transferring the funds to his personal account.
It added that he was sentenced to five years in prison and fined BD40,000. The ruling was issued in absentia as Al-Refai failed to attend any of the court hearings in relation to the case.
In January 2011, Bank Alkhair filed a criminal complaint against Al-Refai with Bahrain’s general prosecutor for allegedly unlawfully acquiring and laundering funds from one of the bank’s associate companies.
Following the review of the complaint, the general prosecutor issued a warrant for Al-Refai’s arrest and transferred the case to the High Criminal Court of Bahrain.
This is the fourth ruling to date issued against the former CEO.
In July, he was convicted of embezzlement; misappropriation of Bank funds; destroying critical bank documents; and obstructing shareholders from accessing bank records, and sentenced to four years.
In March, the Bahrain Chamber of Dispute Resolution dismissed a claim by Al-Refai for compensation of BD1m for his termination from the position of CEO of the bank.
In May, Bahrain’s Supreme Fifth Civil Court also dismissed a claim brought by a group of shareholders affiliated with the former CEO, requesting the nullification of a decison to remove Al-Refai from the bank’s board of directors and to authorise the board to take legal action against him.
Founded in 2004 and headquartered in Bahrain, Bank Alkhair is an Islamic wholesale bank with an international presence in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Turkey.