Orlando, Florida Jury Awards Multi Million Dollar Civil Lawsuit Verdict

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Jury award in excess of $20 million.

An Orlando jury awarded in excess of $20 million dollars to Sheik Ahmed Banafa, a Saudi Arabian businessman, for fraud, conversion, civil theft and breach of contract against Nasir Ashemimry, a Miami, Florida based investment manager, formerly of Saudi Arabia but now a U.S. citizen. After trebling the civil theft award, the final judgment against Ashemimry and his company, Ashetrust Investment Corp., will exceed $20 million.

The lawsuit (Case No. 1998-CA-5045, Division 32, in the Circuit Court of the Ninth Judicial Court, in and for Orange County, Florida) alleged that Nasir Ashemimry and Ashetrust defrauded Sheik Banafa of more than $6 million in a hotel investment scam spanning several years in the mid 1990's. Sheik Banafa was represented by G. Donovan Conwell Jr. and Ken Sukhia of the Tampa and Tallahassee, Florida based law firm of Conwell, Sukhia & Kirkpatrick, P.A.

In his closing argument to the jury, lead counsel for the plaintiff, G. Donovan Conwell, Jr., traced the funds which the plaintiff entrusted to Nasir Ashemimry and Ashetrust for hotel investment, to numerous bank accounts of offshore companies which Nasir Ashemimry allegedly set up to further the hotel investment scam and from there into Ashetrust's account.

None of the Saudi Sheik's $6 million investment was invested in a hotel. Instead, all of the money was diverted to Nasir Ashemimry and Ashetrust and used for their benefit. The evidence at trial showed that Ashemimry used portions of the plaintiff's funds for luxury automobiles, expensive jewelry, lavish trips around the world, fine wines and cigars.

More than $2 million of the Saudi Sheik's money was transferred to unidentified off shore locations and could not be accounted for by the defendants. Nasir Ashemimry testified that he transferred part of those funds into the Saudi stock market, where almost all of the money was lost and that the remainder was invested into a low cost housing project in the Philippines, which he claimed also was lost. However, he did not support either of these explanations with any documentation or corroborating evidence.

Both Conwell and Sukhia successfully argued that Nasir Ashemimry used this portion of their client's money to fund Nasir Ashemimry's purchase in 1997 of a multi-million dollar condominium on Brickell Avenue overlooking Biscayne Bay, which Conwell argued Nasir Ashemimry could not have afforded without Sheik Banafa's funds.

After the jury returned their verdict, Sheik Banafa addressed the jury through an interpreter. Banafa explained that he had heard great things in Saudi Arabia about the American justice system and he expressed gratitude to the jury for bringing the defendants to justice.

About Conwell, Sukhia & Kirkpatrick

Conwell, Sukhia & Kirkpatrick, P.A. is a law firm that specializes in litigation and has offices in Tampa and Tallahassee Florida. G. Donovan Conwell Jr. has extensive litigation expertise in Florida, is AV rated, holds the prestigious "super lawyer" title, and is considered one of the top litigation lawyers in America. Ken Sukhia has represented the nations most prominent individuals including President George W. Bush and Governor Jeb Bush. Earlier this month, Tom Lee, the President of the Senate, hired Mr. Sukhia of Conwell, Sukhia & Kirkpatrick to defend a new law forcing lobbyists to reveal their fees. Additional Information about Conwell, Sukhia & Kirkpatrick can be found at http://www.CSKlawfirm.com.

Media Contact:

Cathy Ross

Conwell, Sukhia & Kirkpatrick, P.A



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