Kuwaiti Royal Sues UBS For $21.4m

The Suisse bank returns to court today in lawsuit over alleged failure of payment in $10.7 billion Zain deal.

The case of a Kuwaiti royal suing UBS for failing to pay him an agreed sum of $21.4 million returns to court on Wednesday.

Sheikh Meshal Jarah al-Sabah, a former senior interior ministry official, is taking legal action against the Swiss bank after they failed to pay him the allegedly agreed sum after his assistance in a $10.7 billion corporate deal.

The agreement has been denied by UBS.

The deal in question was the 2010 sale of the African assets of Zain, the Kuwaiti mobile operator.

Representatives from both the Suisse bank and Sheikh Meshal are to meet today to thrash out the next steps in the lawsuit.

Sheikh Meshal, a descendant of one of Kuwait’s early rulers, claims he and UBS came to a verbal agreement and is owed the $21.4 million. UBS has denied the agreement took place, saying that the bank only earned $22.5 million from the deal anyway.

Sheikh Meshal claims the agreement meant he would earn 0.1 per cent to 0.2 per cent from the total sale. Omar Salehi, UBS’s investment banking vice-chairman for MENA, denies the agreement.

The Suisse bank says it had an existing strong relationship with Zain and has advised the telecoms company on past deals, including the $3.4 billion acquisition of Celtel International in 2005.

Speaking to the British newspaper, the Financial Times, Saad al-Barrak, the long-serving ex-chief executive of Zain, said that the company had a “great strategic relationship” with UBS over many years.