Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber demands compensation from Lufthansa Group

Saudi-Austrian sheik demands compensation from Lufthansa Group

Major investor Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber wins the lawsuit against Austrian Airlines and announces a claim for damages in the billions against the Lufthansa Group.

After 15 years of negotiations, the verdict in the trial between the Saudi-Austrian entrepreneur Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber against Austrian Airlines at the Commercial Court in Vienna was pronounced on March 31, 2023, as reported by Der Standard. The investor is now promising a claim for damages against the parent company Lufthansa, which according to its own statements will amount to over one billion euros.

Subject of the proceedings

The background to the legal dispute is that Al Jaber was prevented from entering the market as an investor in 2008. The entrepreneur was supposed to give Austrian 150 million euros as part of a capital increase and receive 20 percent of the shares in return, reported Die Presse in 2010. Shortly after the contract negotiations were concluded, Al jumped Jaber on the grounds that he had been “maliciously deceived” about the true economic situation of the airline, which was badly hit at the time.

The withdrawal from the contract was legally valid, the commercial court in Vienna has now ruled, dismissing the lawsuit for payment of 156.4 million euros plus 12.2 percent interest per year, which Austrian Airlines itself had sought against Sheikh Al Jaber in autumn 2008 .

“Due to the long-term damage that Austrian Airlines’ absurd legal battle against my corporate interests has caused, I will seek compensation from the Lufthansa Group. Given more than 14 years of this futile attempt to undermine my reputation and my business damage, according to preliminary estimates, the demand should be well over one billion euros.”

Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber

The auditor appointed by the court, Herbert Heiser, had already come to the conclusion in 2012 that Austrian Airlines should have reported a loss of EUR 205.5 million in the first quarter of 2008 instead of a profit of EUR 3.3 million. In the past few decades, the airline has repeatedly had to record poor annual financial statements.

Al Jaber’s international investments

Among other things, Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber is the founder of MBI International Holdings, a global investment company primarily active in the hospitality, construction, urban development, food and oil and gas sectors. The holding company lists over $9 billion in combined assets on its website.

MBI prides itself on being a strategically important global player in the areas of sustainable housing, commodity storage, food processing and port operations. Al Jaber has also made a name for itself in the world of luxury hotels: JJW Hotels & Resorts is a global leisure company with a significant portfolio of hotels, luxury resorts, restaurants and golf courses.

After the first attempt in 2004 failed, the Austrian by choice received his second citizenship in 2007 by a decision of the Council of Ministers after a series of investment commitments. In the same year, he invested around ten percent of the building sum for the Viennese tourism private university Modul University Vienna, the remaining shares of which are held by the Chamber of Commerce.

Due to his wide-ranging portfolio of investments, also in social and scientific areas, the sheikh holds various honorary titles, including:

Project Aladdin Prize for Intercultural Dialogue (2017)
Awarded the Gold Medal of ISESCO (Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) (2012)
Gold Medal of Honor for services to the State of Vienna for services to civil society (2009)
Appointed UN Spokesperson for Global Forums on Government Reinvention (2007)
Awarded the Arab League Gold Medal for Education, Culture and Science (2007)
Appointed UNESCO Special Representative for Education, Tolerance and Cultures (2005)

However, his various legal disputes in the company’s 35-year history were particularly effective in the media, including, for example, the collapsed restructuring plans of the Tyrolean ski company Kneissl, which OTS reported on.


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