By Dr. Theodore Karasik
Gulf State Analytics
May 28, 2019
Kuwait has a high-profile international case on its hands that threatens to harm the country’s foreign investment climate. The case, which has now been brought to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, coupled with several recent legal complaints from international investors, could damage the country’s business environment and threaten its reputation during a sensitive period for the Gulf emirate.
A Kuwait court wrongly convicted Russian national Marsha Lazareva, a prominent businesswoman in the Middle East, of misusing public funds. For the past year she has been serving a 10-year jail sentence with hard labor in Kuwait’s overcrowded Sulaibiya prison.
On May 5, a Kuwaiti judge confirmed a lower court decision to drop the conviction against her but set bail at prohibitive USD 66 million. This, after Lazareva already paid $36 million in bail last year and despite the case against her appearing to have collapsed amid false claims and rampant corruption in the Kuwaiti judicial system.