(CN) – A federal judge scaled back the high interest on a $1.4 million judgment Al Jazeera owes to a construction company that built the international news network a state-of-the-art television studio and office space in Washington, D.C.
Though a magistrate judge recommended that Doha, Qatar-based Al Jazeera pay 12 percent interest from the date the court entered the judgment in September 2010, a federal judge ruled Wednesday that the news network need only pay 0.25 percent.
It still owes 12 percent in prejudgment interest, however, set to run from March 2006, according to the ruling, though Al Jazeera had entered into the construction contract a year earlier.
U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler also ruled that Al Jazeera does not have to post bond on the $1.4 million award to Winmar, a Washington-based construction company. She declined to vacate the judgment to enter one that includes the prejudgment interest and attorneys’ fees.
Though Winmar is on the hook for $474,677 it owes to Qatar National Bank for a related case, the bank cannot seize this award from the $1.4 million judgment Al Jezeera has been ordered to pay, Kessler said. The judge reasoned that such a move would be impractical since a potential appeal by Al Jazeera prevents Winmar from executing its judgment.
Winmar owes the six-figure sum to Qatar National Bank because a judge ruled that it could not keep money that the bank wired by mistake for the construction project.
Kessler said Al Jazeera doesn’t have to pay for the legal battle between Winmar and the bank that resulted in the $474,677 judgment. The news network is liable, however, for the cost of fighting the $1.4 million case with Winmar, according to the 16-page ruling.