Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 July 2019

Vienna investigates consul to Abu Dhabi over Dubai legal link

A senior Austrian diplomat to Abu Dhabi is being investigated by public prosecutors in Vienna over his links to a legal consultant in Dubai.

DUBAI // A senior Austrian diplomat to Abu Dhabi is being investigated by public prosecutors in Vienna over his links to a legal consultant in Dubai.

The consul Gerhard Dedic is accused of recommending the services of Mohammed Ziad Naim Al Kawadri, who is allegedly not qualified to act as a lawyer.

Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, a spokesman for the Austrian foreign ministry, said the Vienna state prosecutor was looking into the allegations and would determine whether there was any substance to them.

Mr Launsky-Tieffenthal added that the investigation was at "the very early stage".

Ingvild Moritsch, an Austrian lawyer in Dubai, has collected what she claims is evidence that shows Mr Al Kawadri is not qualified to represent people in court.

Ms Moritsch submitted the material to the Austrian complaints board Saubere Hande ("clean hands"), which passed it on to the public prosecutor.

Bernhard Lassy, the president of Saubere Hande, said he could not pass judgement on what the evidence suggested but said there were "a lot of strange things".

Mr Dedic shrugged off the allegations, describing the investigation as the extension of a personal grievance.

"There is a group of people who have a problem with Mr Al Kawadri," he said. "They've started pursuing actions in different directions, and they've brought these allegations to Vienna.

"The investigation is under process at the moment and there's nothing proved. But we never recommended him for representing people in court. We have a lawyer to do those things.

"He was helping to get people out of jail through his contacts with the police. Some people asked him to do that, and that was the decision of the person.

"Whether or not he was allowed to do that is a question Mr Al Kawadri needs to answer. Some people are trying to push me into this but our main goal was to help people out, to get people out of prison fast."

However, Ms Moritsch said she approached Mr Dedic with the material she had collected against Mr Al Kawadri.

"I went to see him and informed him," she said.

"I thought that he would disassociate himself from Al Kawadri but instead he started to attack the victims and me. I couldn't understand his behaviour."

Ms Moritsch said the embassy had not checked Mr Al Kawadri's record before recommending him.

Mr Al Kawadri says he has licences to act as a legal consultant and works under powers granted from local lawyers.

"If you have the power of attorney from a local lawyer you can do all the work yourself," he said.

Mr Dedic said he was not in contact with Mr Al Kawadri while the investigation is continuing.

But Mr Al Kawadri said he had recently received two cases from Mr Dedic's secretary.

mcroucher@thenational.ae

Updated: December 16, 2011 04:00 AM

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