We had a stock Porsche 928S automatic for sale, which was ordered by a Sheikh Sulman and subsequently cancelled. One day Sheikh Abdul Rahman bin Muburak AL Khalifa, who was the younger brother of Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, came into our workshop and said he would buy it. He signed all the papers and gave me a cheque for BD 14, 000/- in the full payment for the car less the customs duty. He asked if he could take the car and normally I would not release the car until the cheque cleared, but on this occasion, I left him take the car on temporary number plates.
Under the law of Bahrain, you could not register any new car unless you had the Ministry of Commerce certificate that was issued for each individual car imported, stating the chassis and engine number on it. I kept this certificate back pending clearance of his cheque, so he could not register the car, which in Bahrain is proof of ownership. A few days later I got a call from the Bank and the cheque was not paid by Sheikh Abdul Rahman’s bank, so I called him up and he said to represent it. Well it bounced again and then I realised we had a problem.
I called Sheikh Ali bin Khalifa, the Prime Minister’s son and he said to pop by the office, which I did. I asked him about Sheikh Abdul Rahman circumstances and he said, “Never let any of my extended family take anything unless they pay for it first!” I explained that we had kept the registration documents for the car, but how could we take the car back when it involved his family? He said he would look into matters and later that day he called by the office on the way home and told me personally that Sheikh Abdul Rahman was in deep trouble with the Family and his father, the Prime Minister, had taken Abdul Rahman’s passport from him to stop him leaving Bahrain.
Apparently, Abdul Rahman had hired a helicopter in Sydney, Australia and said his was the Prime Minister’s son of Bahrain and to bill the Embassy, plus a lot more bills were showing up internationally unpaid. Sheikh Ali advised me the only thing was to report the matter to the police and get them to take the car back and for me to write to the AL Khalifa Family Council, which deals with these matters.
I subsequently reported this matter to the police and they went to ask Abdul Rahman to meet the police captain and called me to join them at the police station. Abdul Rahman said he was trying to sort the payment of the cheque out and the police captain asked me to allow him some additional time. I noticed the Porsche 928S outside and it had proper registration plates on it? I then asked Abdul Rahman how he had registered the car and he told me it was his car, so he needed to register it. When he left, I had the police captain check with the Traffic Department and it appeared Abdul Rahman had registered the car without the registration certificate. The police captain told me the Director of Traffic & Licensing, was Abdul Rahman’s uncle!
I wrote to the Family Council and this had a number of leading Sheikhs on it and they wrote back to say they would look into matters. This went on for months and I never did find out if the company was paid for this car, as events were overtaking me personally, which are explained towards the end of this book