Qatari Sheikh Must Pay $419,400 in Unpaid Fees to U.K. Law Firm

A member of the Qatari royal family must pay a London-based law firm 261,279 pounds ($419,400) in unpaid fees for advice given when his assets were frozen after he failed to pay auction houses for bids he won.

Sheikh Saud Bin Mohammed Bin Ali Al-Thani was ordered to pay the amount because he never responded to the lawsuit by SJ Berwin LLP, according to the default judgment given at London’s High Court in April and made public this week.

Al-Thani was sued for 4.1 million pounds in the U.K. by London auction house Bonhams 1793 Ltd. and for $22 million in the U.S. by rare coin specialists A.H. Baldwin & Sons Ltd. because he didn’t pay for items, SJ Berwin said in court documents filed Feb. 20.

A London judge froze Al-Thani’s global assets on Oct. 2, SJ Berwin said in the court documents, without saying how much the freezing order was for.

Al-Thani successfully bid on coins last year including a $3.25 million single gold piece from the Ancient Greek city of Pantikapaion that bears the head of a bearded satyr, according to the Oct. 9 lawsuit filed in Washington by A.H. Baldwin, M&M Numismatics LLC of Washington and Dmitry Markov Coins and Medals of New York.

Charlotte Ward, a spokeswoman for SJ Berwin in London, declined to comment on the ruling. A London number for Al-Thani was disconnected and the spokeswoman for the law firm named on court documents as representing Al-Thani said they weren’t involved.

Al-Thani was head of Qatar’s National Council for Culture, Arts and Heritage and is a “significant collector of valuable antiques and fine art,” SJ Berwin said.

Al-Thani pledged the world’s most expensive watch and other collectibles valued at almost $83 million to Sotheby’s in November to cover debts owed to the auction house, according to court documents filed at the New York Department of State in October.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeremy Hodges in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at

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