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Once close allies now foes: Abinet loses civil case over document dispute with Al Amoudi

Photo By Anteneh Aklilu

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By Muluken Yewondwossen

Former associate of business tycoon Sheik Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi, Abinet Gebermeskel, has lost a civil case against Sheik Mohammed in a well-known legal dispute. The ruling this week favored Sheik Mohammed, who had filed a civil complaint seeking the annulment of a document. The court decision stated that Abinet, the defendant, lacked the authority to execute loan agreements on behalf of Sheik Mohammed, rendering the verified document from the Document Authentication and Registration Service (DARS) inappropriate.

According to court documents, Abinet’s brother, acting under power of attorney, signed a credit agreement on behalf of Sheik Mohammed in June 2021. The agreement guaranteed that Sheik Mohammed had received funds from Abinet on several occasions for various expenses. Abinet claimed that, based on verbal instructions from Sheik Mohammed, he had covered bills, costs, and accommodations using his personal credit card and bank account for visitors, including VIPs, who were visiting the US. He alleged that Sheik Mohammed had failed to reimburse him as promised.

To ensure that his former friend acknowledged a debt of three million dollars for the expenses incurred in the US, Abinet signed a payment agreement at DARS on behalf of Sheik Mohammed. Abinet’s brother, acting under power of attorney for Abinet, also signed the document. Sheik Mohammed argued that he did not accept the payment and that the document exceeded the authority granted to Abinet in the power of attorney, which was approximately ten years old.

Around 22 months ago, Abinet also initiated a civil lawsuit, seeking reimbursement from Sheik Mohammed for the expenses he had incurred on behalf of his former friend. Sheik Mohammed countered that the debt claim was unfounded and that the power of attorney granted to Abinet did not authorize him to make credit-related deals. He claimed that the document signed without his authority and verified by DARS was unlawful.

Regarding the loan claim, Sheik Mohammed stated that the evidence presented by Abinet did not support his case, as it was produced by the defendant himself. Despite Abinet’s claim that he could provide transaction statements from US financial institutions and the court’s order for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to obtain information from US banks, the US banks denied his request, stating that they would only disclose records upon request from a US court.

The court granted Abinet the opportunity to present bank statements, but he was unable to provide the requested documents. On Wednesday, January 31, the court delivered its verdict on both lawsuits filed by Sheik Mohammed and Abinet’s counter-accusation. The court accepted Sheik Mohammed’s argument regarding the unverified credit and ruled that the DARS-verified document was inappropriate. Additionally, the court clarified that the power of attorney granted by Sheik Mohammed to Abinet was limited to proceedings within Ethiopia and did not extend to matters in the United States.

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