Alan Bender, a Kuwati-born Canadian businessman, testified to a court in a sworn deposition that Ilhan Omar is a “Qatari asset.”
Bender claims Qatar “recruited Ilhan Omar from even way before she thought about becoming a government official… They groomed her and arranged the foundation, the grounds, for her to get into politics way before she even showed interest. They convinced her.”
A representative for Omar has responded: “Since the day she was elected, Saudi Arabian trolls and mouthpieces have targeted Omar with misinformation and conspiracy theories. The latest, outlandishly absurd story from a Saudi-funded media outlet is, of course, false and only the latest in that trend.”
Ilhan Omar, the Minnesota congresswoman, has said she is the victim of Saudi propaganda after she was accused of being a “Qatari asset” and conduit to Iran during a Florida court case.
Kuwaiti-born Canadian businessman Alan Bender testified in the recent trial of Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad al Thani, a member of the Qatari royal family who is accused of ordering his American bodyguard to murder two people and of holding an American citizen hostage. His deposition was obtained by Saudi-funded outlet Al Arabiya English, which reported the allegations Monday.
A representative for Omar responded: “Since the day she was elected, Saudi Arabian trolls and mouthpieces have targeted Omar with misinformation and conspiracy theories. The latest, outlandishly absurd story from a Saudi-funded media outlet is, of course, false and only the latest in that trend.”
According to Bender, three Qatari officials asked him to recruit American politicians to be Qatari assets. He added he was told when he objected that several people were already on the payroll, including Omar, whom they called the “jewel in the crown.”
Bender said Qatar’s Secretary to the Emir for Security Affairs Mohammad bin Ahmed bin Abdullah al Masnad told him that the country “recruited Ilhan Omar from even way before she thought about becoming a government official … They groomed her and arranged the foundation, the grounds, for her to get into politics way before she even showed interest. They convinced her.”
He alleged that Omar cooperated with Qatar’s request and received cash payments. He also claimed that she used her position in the House of Representatives to access sensitive information, which she relayed to Qatar and through them Iran. According to the deposition, Bender further told the court that Omar actively recruited other politicians on behalf of the nation.
“If it wasn’t for our cash, Ilhan Omar would be just another black Somali refugee in America collecting welfare and serving tables on weekends,” he claimed the officials told him.
Several journalists have pointed out that they have seen no evidence to back up Bender’s claims and warned that the allegations against Omar could be part of a Saudi disinformation campaign, considering Qatar’s shaky historical relationship with the country and the fact that a Saudi-backed publication first picked up the deposition. In 2017, Saudi Arabia cut its diplomatic ties with Qatar.
Many of you have contacted me about the @IlhanMN/Qatar connection alleged in a Florida court proceeding.
No source of mine has ever mentioned anything about this. I have seen nothing verifiable. I could not be more skeptical of the story’s veracity.
— David Steinberg (@realDSteinberg) November 25, 2019
Read more here.