Leighton subsidiary in Middle East dispute

Leighton subsidiary Habtoor launches legal action against sheik's company.

Habtoor Leighton, the Middle Eastern subsidiary of Leighton Holdings Ltd, has commenced legal action against Al Faisal Holding, a company controlled by Sheik Faisal bin Qassim al-Thani, over a $US325 million ($A365 million) construction project in Doha.

According to the newspaper, a dispute broke out last month between the parties as stage three of the Doha City Centre Expansion neared conclusion and Al Faisal Holding sought to cash in performance bonds on the project worth around $US100 million.

Habtoor Leighton has been building the project, including five hotel towers, for seven years.

The Australian reports Habtoor Leighton was forced to pay around half of the value of the bonds to Al Faisal Holding, while the remianing half was placed in a special Treasury fund established by the Doha Courts.

The payments are understood to have come directly from Habtoor Leighton's balance sheet, with no assistance from Leighton.

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