On 16 July at the UK High Court, Justice David Steel ruled that the Iraqi government was responsible for the cost of Iraqi Airways’ (IAC) defence against KAC’s $1.2bn compensation claim for planes and equipment stolen during the invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

“This is another major step on the very lengthy road that KAC has steadfastly followed in its’ claim for compensation for one of the largest government-backed corporate thefts in history,” says Chris Gooding, a partner at the UK law firm Howard Kennedy, which has represented KAC since 1990.

“I am pleased that this judgement recognises the intimate role that the Iraqi government, in all its incarnations since 1991, has played in the fraudulent cover-up of evidence and perversion of the truth.”

Steel found that the State of Iraq was the only source of IAC’s legal funding and had controlled and supervised the litigation at all times. He also ruled that Baghdad was responsible for the “bogus defence” presented by IAC, and had ordered the destruction of KAC aviation parts in an effort to conceal evidence.

In the longest running commercial dispute in British legal history, Iraqi Airways’ defence against the KAC claim has been described by a previous judge as a “perversion of justice on a remarkable and almost unprecedented scale”.

A series of previous rulings in the case were overthrown in 2002 after a series of perjury findings against the Iraqi airline.

IAC officials did not attend the hearing and were not available for comment.