A Lebanese court has convicted the cousin of Qatar’s foreign minister of funding Al-Qaeda, increasing pressure on the Gulf State, which has been accused of supporting terrorist groups in Syria, Iraq and Egypt.

Abdulaziz bin Khalifa al-Attiyah was arrested in Lebanon, but was allowed to leave the country before his trial after lobbying from Qatar. He was eventually found guilty in absentia.

Al-Attiyah met and payed thousands of US dollars to two men who were subsequently designated global terrorists by the US government, according to Lebanese news reports.

One was Umar al-Qatari, a Jordanian who has provided financial and technical support to Al-Nusra Front and Al-Qaeda, according to the US.

The other, Shadi al-Mawlawi, a radical Islamist that heads the Lebanese militant group that has pledged allegiance to Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Isis) and has been accused of carrying  out a destructive bombing campaign.

Al-Attiyah is a former member of the Qatar Olympic Committee and denies funding terrorism.

As well as being related to Foreign Minister Khalid bin Mohammed al-Attiyah, he is also a cousin of Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah, the head of the Qatari agency in charge of enforcing money laundering and terror funding legislation.

Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah is also a former energy minister and deputy prime minister.

Abdulaziz bin Khalifa al-Attiyah’s conviction for terror financing came ahead of an announcement by the UK and Qatar that they had forged a new agreement for increased cooperation to tackle militant Islam and cyber warfare.