An Arab sheikh tried to enlist his American security staffer to murder two people and ordered him to hold another American captive, according to a new lawsuit filed in federal court.
A second plaintiff in the lawsuit makes similar allegations, saying he served as the sheikh’s around-the-clock medic to monitor his vitals during 36-hour long benders and that he was held captive in a compound, threatened with a gun and ultimately jumped from an 18-foot wall to escape.
Sheikh Khalid Bin Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, the brother of the ruler of the oil-rich nation of Qatar, is the target of the lawsuit
, which was filed July 23 in a Florida federal court and has not been previously reported.
The security guard is Matthew Pittard, a Florida man. The medic is Matthew Allende, a California man. Both worked for Khalid in Beverly Hills and also traveled with him regularly to Qatar and London.
“During his employment, Pittard was solicited by Defendant Khalid for the murder of two individuals. In approximately late September of 2017 and November of 2017, in Los Angeles, California, Defendant Khalid asked Pittard to murder a male and a female who Defendant Khalid viewed as threats to his social reputation and personal security. Pittard refused to execute these unlawful requests,” the suit says.
“From approximately July 7-10, 2018, Defendant Khalid and his private Qatari security staff held an American citizen against the American citizen’s will on at least two occasions in one of Defendant Khalid’s personal residences,” the suit continues. “At Defendant Khalid’s request, the American citizen was arrested and jailed at the Onaiza Police Station in Doha, Qatar. Pittard and the United States Embassy came to the aide of the American citizen, and helped the American citizen reach a point of safety, and eventually safely depart from the country.”
An aerial view shows Doha’s diplomatic area March 21, 2013. (Reuters/Fadi Al-Assaad)
“[U]pon learning that Pittard had assisted in securing the American citizen’s safety,” Khlaid said Pittard would “pay the price,” according to the lawsuit. “Defendant Khalid directly told Pittard that he would kill him, bury his body in the desert, and kill Pittard’s family.”
Pittard was held against his will, his electronics and personal belongings were taken, and he was fired, the lawsuit says. Khalid brandished a Glock 26 firearm while forcing Pittard “to execute new employment documents,” the lawsuit says.
Khalid also had a full-time paramedic to check his vital signs and tend to medical issues. Allende worked in the role from October 2017 to February 2018 in Los Angeles as well as in Doha.
He worked seven days a week, 12 hours a day, according to the suit. In some cases “Allende worked for 20 to 36 hours straight, with minimal meal breaks and no opportunity for sleep,” the lawsuit says.
“On or about December 17, 2017, after approximately three straight weeks of work and a 36-hour sleepless binge by Defendant Khalid, Allende requested a day off, to which Defendant Khalid agreed,” it continues. “During this 36-hour sleepless binge, Allende was forced to stay awake with Defendant Khalid.”
But, as he was leaving, an armed security guard stopped him and said Khalid had changed his mind. “Allende informed the guard he was leaving with or without the guard’s permission, to which the guard replied ‘No, you are not leaving,'” the lawsuit says.
Allende escaped the premises by “using a security guard dog’s kennel to scale over an eighteen-foot perimeter wall.”
“Knowing the risk that he may sustain serious injuries in his efforts to maintain personal security and safety, and escape from the dangerous and threatening situation created by Defendant Khalid, jumped from the top of the Majlis perimeter wall to the concrete walkway,” the suit says.
He was taken to the hospital for surgery to treat his injuries from the 18-foot fall, and on “February 4, 2018, once he was healthy enough to travel, though still on crutches, Allende was terminated from employment by Defendants.”
Khalid invested $10 million in a drag racing team and was known to drive a bright yellow, $1.4 million Ferrari LaFerrari around Beverly Hills.
In 2015, video journalist Jacob Rogers filmed the car screaming through residential neighborhoods racing against a Porche 911 GT3. He asked one of the drivers why they were endangering residents. (RELATED: Lamborghinis, Burkas, Sex Party Invites And ‘Chop Chop Square’: A New York Lawyer’s 15 Years In The Middle East)
“He told me verbatim, ‘I could have you killed and get away with it,'” Rogers told NBC News. “I told him, ‘The press is allowed to be here on the sidewalk on a public street.’ He said, ‘Fuck America’ and threw a cigarette at me.”
Then-29-year-old Khalid claimed he had diplomatic immunity, but the State Department denied it, and Beverly Hills Police Chief Dominick Rivetti insisted that culprits would be held responsible no matter “who you are, who you know or where you are from.” Khalid left the country, though the lawsuit suggests that he returned not long after.
Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar (VCU photo)
Numerous westerners have been held captive in Qatar. The nation’s royals even imprison members of their own family who are viewed as a threat, a French man who said he was wrongfully imprisoned told media, saying he shared a cell
with six members of the royal family.
In the lawsuit, Allende says he was paid $500 a day, and Pittard $102,000 a year. The men say that Khalid ignored American labor laws, caused personal injury and retaliated. The suit also names Geo Strategic Defense Solutions LLC, and KH Holding LLC, two companies associated with Khalid.
A lawyer for the men, Rebecca Castaneda, did not return a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation, nor did Qatar’s press office. Khalid could not be reached directly.
Qatar has allegedly tried to paper over its human rights record by spending billions of dollars on public relations and influence campaigns. It has provided undisclosed trips to Democratic congressmen
, given $1 billion to American universities
, and owns Al Jazeera
, one of the largest producers of progressive viral videos on Facebook.
Meanwhile, Khalid’s brother, the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, was in Washington in July to meet with
President Donald Trump, who praised the country. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has engaged with the Qatari royal repeatedly and also attended the White House meeting. Michael Cohen, former lawyer to Trump, tried to make millions of dollars
for himself by putting a U.S. nuclear plant partially in Qatari hands.
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