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Bahrain Adjourns Isa Qassim’s Verdict to May | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Sheikh Isa Qassim. (Reuters)

Manama – Bahrain’s High Criminal Court postponed on Tuesday the announcement of the verdict in the money laundering case against Isa Qassim, a local cleric, and two others to May 7, deputy Public Prosecutor Ahmad al-Quraishi said.

The Public Prosecution had charged the suspects with “committing the crimes of unlicensed fund-raising, money laundering and carrying out financial transactions to conceal the source of their illegal funds,” Quraishi said.

The charges are within the confines of the laws on fund-raising for public purposes, which requires fund-raisers to obtain prior permission from the concerned authority, he added.

He stated that the case was a regulatory issue that that was not affected by religious duties in any way.

Several people had said the case amounted to an attack on the Shi’ite sect, but the prosecution denied the claims, insisting that there were no legal reasons or grounds to exempt the suspects from complying with the law on fund-raising.

The investigations revealed that the suspects had used the illegally raised funds in private transactions conducted by one of them, which constituted a money laundering crime, the prosecution said.

On June 20, 2016, the Bahraini government decided to strip Sheikh Isa Qassim of his nationality, and the court requested a report from the Central Bank of Bahrain on Qassim’s financial activities, which revealed he had four bank accounts.

The money amounted to around $14 million, deposited in four different accounts in Iranian banks, while the withdrawal from those accounts reached $6.6 million, according to the Central Bank report.