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Qatar bank asks US court to order Eritrea to pay back $300m debt

August 13, 2021 at 2:45 pm

The Qatar National Bank (QNB) branch in the Saudi capital Riyadh on June 5, 2017 [FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images]

Qatar National Bank QPSC (QNB) asked a Washington D.C. court to order Eritrea to pay about $300 million of debt after the Horn of Africa nation refused to respond to two lawsuits filed by the lender, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.

According to the report, Eritrea borrowed $200 million from the Middle East’s largest lender in 2009 and 2010 and only returned $45 million in May 2012.

QNB later applied legal recourse in the UK in 2018 as per the loan agreement. A judge in the UK ordered Eritrea to pay its creditor $253 million in addition to interest, however Eritrea stopped responding to lawyers, the report said.

The Qatari bank today requested a judgement by default from a US federal court saying that President Isaias Afwerki’s government, which has ruled the country for 28 years, allegedly avoided being served legal documents.

QNB alleges that Eritrea has not been responsive with court rulings and chose not to defend itself in both the UK and US cases

The Washington court’s decision would enable QNB to identify and seize Eritrea’s overseas assets, Bloomberg reported.

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