Qatar Investment Authority
Qatar-investment-authority-logo.jpg
TypeSovereign wealth fund
Founded2005; 16 years ago
Headquarters,

Key people

Mansoor Bin Ebrahim Al-Mahmoud (CEO)[1]
AUMDecrease US$300 billion (2020) [2]
OwnerState of Qatar
SubsidiariesHarrods, Harrods Estates, Harrods Aviation, Air Harrods, QNB Group, Barwa Group (45%), Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company, Qatar Holding LLC, Linx Cargo Care Group, Hassad Food, Filmyard Holdings (2010-2016), Future French Champions SAS, Q REIT Holding, Qatar Asset Management Co, Qatar Railways Development, Ascott Serviced Residence (Global) Fund, Qatar Dubai Investments, OCS Investments, Katara Hospitality
Websitewww.qia.qa

The Qatar Investment Authority (QIA; Arabic: جهاز قطر للإستثمار‎) is Qatars sovereign wealth fund. The QIA was founded by the State of Qatar in 2005 to strengthen the countrys economy by diversifying into new asset classes. In 2021, the QIA had an estimated $300 billion of assets.[3][4]

The QIAs structure and decision-making procedures have been characterized as non-transparent.[5][6] Spending decisions regarding the fund have been linked to the emir and the prime minister (regardless of whether they sit on the board of the fund).[7]

History and profile[edit]

The QIA was founded in 2005 by the then-emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, to manage the oil and natural gas surpluses of the government of Qatar.[8] As a result of its stated strategy to minimize risk from Qatars reliance on energy prices, the fund predominantly invests in international markets (United States, Europe and Asia-Pacific) and within Qatar outside the energy sector. Prior to establishment of the QIA in 2005, Qatars Ministry of Finance had a small in-house team to invest revenue from budget surpluses.[9] The Qatar National Vision 2030 foresees the shift from natural gas based revenue to QIA-type investments between now and then.[10]

The QIA wholly controls Qatari Diar, a property investment company.[11] The QIA does not publish its holdings to the market.

In June 2013, after the new emirs arrival to power, and a general reshuffle of Qatars main organizations, Ahmad Al Sayed was appointed as QIAs chairman and chief executive officer, replacing Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani in the post[12] while also remaining Managing Director and CEO of QIAs main subsidiary, Qatar Holding.[13] Sayed held the post for 16 months. In January 2015, Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani, chairman of Qatari telecommunications company Ooredoo, was appointed as CEO and served until 2018.[14] As of 2019, Mansoor Bin Ebrahim Al-Mahmoud is the CEO of the company.[1]

The fund is a member of the International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds.[15]

Subsidiaries[edit]

Qatar Investment Authority owns 100% of Qatar Holding LLC, and it is associated with Qatar National Bank (50%). QIA is affiliated with Qatar Islamic Bank (16.67%) and with Ubac Curaçao NV (1.35%). QIA is also affiliated with Qatar Sports Investments (QSi).[16]

Investments[edit]

In January 2013, one writer pegged the QIA investment in Britain at €30 billion, France at €10 billion and Germany at €5 billion,[10] while another reported that the total assets under management in June 2013 was on the order of $100 billion.[17] Qatar Holdings stake in Barclays rose to 12.7% following Barclays capital raising in October 2008.[18] Qatar Investment Authority holds a small stake in Fisker Automotive. It also holds about 17% stake in the Volkswagen Group, Porsche, Hochtief,[19] as well as investments in Sainsburys.[20] The French government has made of Qatar a strategic partner, and the list of partnerships between the two states includes Lagardère (12%) Total (4%), EADS (6%), Technip, Air Liquide, Vinci SA (5%), GDF Suez, Veolia (5%), Vivendi, Royal Monceau, France Telecom and Areva.[10][19][21] In February 2009, France accorded special beyond-OECD investment privileges to Qatar and its state-owned enterprises; one example is capital gains exemptions in France.[21] The QIA is also reported to hold part of Xstrata.[17]

On 8 May 2010, Qatar Holding, an indirect subsidiary of QIA, purchased the Harrods Group from Mohamed Al-Fayed, including the Knightsbridge department store.[22] QIA are also the largest shareholder in Sainsburys.[23] On 3 December 2010, Qatar Investment Authority, along with Colony Capital and Tutor-Saliba Corporation, was part of an investment group known as Filmyard Holdings, which purchased Miramax from Disney.[24]

In February 2012, it completed the acquisition of Credit Suisses headquarters in London. QIA holds a 6% stake in Credit Suisse and owns shares in Apeldoorn, the majority owner of Canary Wharf Group. Qatari Diar, a property arm of the fund, along with Canary Wharf, won a £300mn deal to redevelop the Shell Centre in London that houses the Royal Dutch Shells London headquarters.[25] The French government has offered tax exemptions for Qatari real estate investments in the country and have acquired almost $4 billion of property.[26] In May 2012, it acquired a stake below 3% in Royal Dutch Shell. It has announced a plan to raise its stake to 7%.[27] In late 2012 Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) completed a buyout of the French football club Paris Saint-Germain F.C. (P.S.G.), which valued the club at $130 million.[26] QSI invested a further $340 million in the club, they had bought the Paris Saint-Germain Handball team the previous year.[26] The Qatari president of P.S.G., Nasser Al-Khelaifi is also the director of Qatari owned television network Al Jazeera Sports, which launched French television channels beIN Sport. Qatar has also offered to finance social programs in French suburbs, which has attracted criticism.[26]

In November 2012, QIA and Cassa Depositi e Prestiti signed the starting agreement of IQ Made in Italy Venture, a 4-years cooperation to promote Made in Italy in Qatars Arabic partners and to push them to invest in Italian economic sectors like fashion, luxury, design, food, tourism, lifestyle & leisure,[28][29][30] and defence.[31]

In January 2013, Qatar Holding, an indirect subsidiary of QIA, said it would invest $5 billion into petrochemical projects in Malaysia in three to four years. The investment was said to help Malaysia compete with neighbouring Singapore to become the regions top petrochemical hub.[32] The QIA was planning to invest $200 million in residential property in India through Kotak Realty Fund in late December 2013.[33] In August 2018, Qatar Investment Authority signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to invest up to $500mn in tourism in Indonesia.[34]

In October 2014, Qatar Investment Authority, has signed an agreement with CITIC Group Corp to launch a $10 billion fund that will invest in the China region[35] The QIA announced its intention to invest $35b in the US during the next five years, starting in September 2015.[36]

Via Mannai Corporation, it is currently in a process of acquiring the French computer science group GFI.[37] In 2021, QIA is investing in a sub-Saharan African renewable energy platform being led by Enel Green Power.[38]

During the 2021 St Petersburg economic Forum, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani highlighted Qatars solid historic relations with Russia and announced that his country will increase investments in the Russian federation. He also called on Russia’s private sector and the world to explore Qatar’s promising business environment in many projects and several spheres. [39]

Qatari Diar[edit]

src=https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/3/32/Qatari_Diar.gif

Qatari Diar is a real estate company established by the Qatar Investment Authority in 2005 with headquarters in Doha.

By 2011 the company had stakes in Vinci SA, a firm employing 183,000 in 100 countries; in the utility Suez Environnement and in Veolia Environnement (4.6%, sold in 2018).[40] That same year Qatari Diar bought the Port Tarraco Marina in Tarragona, Spain.[41] Early in 2012 the company had 49 projects in the planning or development stage in Qatar and in 29 countries around the world.[42] The company owns The Shard, a sky scraper in London designed by Renzo Piano and the publicly funded Olympic village also known as East Village, London;[43] and the former Royal Dutch Shell plc headquarters.[44] In January 2013 it became known that the company had put on hold a redevelopment project of Chelsea Barracks worth around GBP 3 billion.[45] During the same month Qatari Diar pulled out of the bidding for the development of the site of Athens former international airport Ellinikon.[46]

Mayor Vincent C. Gray (District of Columbia) announced in early 2013 that he will travel to Qatar to promote the flow of global capital to the district. Qatari Diar is said to back CityCenterDC with around US$700 million.[47] Representatives of Qatari Diar attended an investment conference hosted by the Peruvian Foreign Investment Authority.[48]

Recent developments[edit]

Investments potentially in Birmingham the UKs second largest city.

Property Investments in London[edit]

Canary Wharf Group Investment Holdings, which is majority owned by Qatar Holdings, is Londons largest property owner, with almost 21.5m sq ft of space on its books, according to data from the research firm Datscha.[49]

In addition to its investments with Canary Wharf, Qatar Investment Authority owns the site of the Chelsea Barracks, the Olympic Village and The Shard.[citation needed]

Heathrow Airport[edit]

Qatar Investment Authority is a major shareholder in Heathrow Airport, holding 20 percent of the airport. In 2017, the company has invested a further 650 million pounds ($807 million).[50]

Volkswagen[edit]

Bloomberg estimated that in September 2015 Qatar Investment Authority lost $5.9 billion on paper from its stakes in Volkswagen and Glencore after the carmaker admitted to using an illegal software to cheat on emissions tests in the U.S.[51] By holding 17% of Volkswagens ordinary stock and 13% of preferred shares, Qatars sovereign-wealth fund is the third largest investor shareholder in the firm.[51][52]

QIA is also the largest investor in Glencore. (8.2%), a mining company.

Barclays[edit]

Since 2008 dealings between Qatar Holding LLC and Barclays were investigated by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) for suspicious cash-raising practices during the global financial crisis.[53] Allegedly, Barclays received €7.5 billion ($8.2 billion) cash injection from QIAs subsidiary but did not inform its shareholders.[53] Barclays was charged with failing to act with integrity and breaching disclosure rules for UK listed companies.[54]

Moreover, in 2011 both the Serious Fraud Office and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) investigated Barclays’ €2.4 billion ($2.7 billion) secret transaction with a Politically Exposed Person (PEP) from Qatar whose identity remains protected by the financial giant and FCA.[54] In that case, Barclays failed to conduct due skill, care, and diligence at the base of Britains anti-money laundering rules.[55] As a result, the UK financial watchdog meted out a record €92 million ($104 million) penalty against the financial giant.[55]

Recent upsurge of Qatari investments in New York and D.C.[edit]

In early 2015, the QIA announced its intent to “invest $35 billion in the U.S. over the next five years” in various sectors of the economy.[56] Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani, chief executive of QIA, told U.S. officials in December 2016 that it plans to invest $10 billion in infrastructure projects inside the U.S., although he specified no time frame. It is unclear whether this amount is intended to be part of the previously mentioned $35 billion, or if it is a new initiative.[57]

New York[edit]

QIA has purchased $3.78 billion in Manhattan properties since 2014, including 111 West 33rd Street, 501 Seventh Avenue and 250 West 57th Street.[58]

QIA owns a 44% stake in its partnership with Brookfield Property Partners on a new mixed-use development delivering in 2019 that will include five separate buildings.[59] In August 2018, Brookfield signed a 99-year lease on Jared Kushners financially troubled 666 Fifth Avenue skyscraper. The deal raised suspicions that the Qatar Investment Authority, a major investor in Brookfield, was attempting to influence the Trump administration.[60][61]

In April 2015, the Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar purchased four apartment units for roughly $45 million at a development within the United Nations Plaza.[62]

In January 2014, the Qatari government bought a 20,500-square-foot townhouse for $100 million in Manhattan’s Upper East Side to be redeveloped into its consulate. From 2012-2013, Qatar’s prime minister at the time, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, purchased $285 million in apartments on Manhattan.[63]

Washington, D.C.[edit]

QIA was one of the major financiers of a recent development known as CityCenterDC, as it invested $650 million into the project.[64]

Controversies[edit]

Campaigns[edit]

Stop the Funding of Terrorism[edit]

In October 2014 the British newspaper Sunday Telegraph launched a two-month long campaign, called Stop the Funding of Terrorism, to stress Qatars persistent negligence in countering terrorist finance and actively supporting terrorist entities and enterprises in the Middle East.[65]

The Telegraphs campaign included 34 articles published between 20 September and 16 November 2014, some of which accused Qatar of funding the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).[66]

Middle East Eye found in its investigation that Sunday Telegraphs campaign coincided with efforts by the newspaper owners, David and Frederick Barclay, battling for ownership of three five-star Mayfair hotels Claridges, The Berkeley and The Connaught.[67] Qatari royal Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani was the Barclay brothers’ opponent, and he ultimately prevailed when in April 2015 the Qatar Investment Authority adjudicated the purchase of the three London hotels.[66]

The British newspaper has denied any allegation of editorial interference by David and Sir Frederick Barclay. Analogously, Qatar has denied the Telegraphs claims. Qatar stated that being a Muslim investment authority does not necessarily mean they support ISIL.[66]

However, shortly after, concerns on Qatars alleged support to extremism and ISIL were voiced at a public event. During a March 2015 conference hosted by the United States Institute of Peace, the leader of Sudanese militia Justice and Equality Movement, Tahir al-Faki remarked on the occasion of the official visit to the US that Qatars alleged support of extremism was explored by representatives of the intel community who mentioned several reports suggesting that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir was hosting ISIL training camps in Darfur supported by the Gulf country.[68][failed verification] A statement issued on 11 February 2015 by humanitarian personnel Yahia Sadam belonging to another Sudanese militia Sudan Liberation Movement/Army-Minni Minnawi accused Qatar of supporting extremism in the country and claimed she is complicit in the genocide by the scorched earth policy executed by Sudanese soldiers by financial aid channeled through Qatar Charity, Qatars largest NGO, and especially directed at building housing complexes in remote and isolated areas to harbor and train extremist groups in Africa and some Arab countries. His statement was issued in the aftermath of alleged operation by Rapid Support Forces which expelled 250,000 villagers, by burning 45 villages and killing 120 civilians.[69]

Harrods boycott[edit]

Londons department store Harrods faced a boycott campaign in October 2014 against QIAs subsidiary, Qatar Holding, which purchased Harrods in 2010.[70] The initiative, led by London-based media lawyer Mark Lewis and extensively promoted by the Sunday Telegraph, intended to bring Qatars role in terror finance to the publics attention.[71]

Lewis was quoted by the Telegraph as saying: We can stand back and do nothing, but when we do, we are paying for that terror … People need to know where their money is going. The solicitor added that the scale of its commercial holdings is such that most of us do not even realise that we are buying into its terrorist operations.[71] The campaign attracted public attention and was endorsed by a number of public figures in the UK.[71]

The Qatar Awareness Coalition[edit]

The Qatar Awareness Coalition (QAC), a collective of high-profile individuals affiliated with some conservative US newspapers and bloggers, sent a public letter to Harvey and Bob Weinstein, the founders of Miramax Films on 27 October 2014.[72][73][74] The QAC claimed that the deal allegedly promotes terrorism by being affiliated with an Islamic country [74]

Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB)[edit]

Qatar Investment Authoritys affiliation with Qatar Islamic Bank (16.67%) raises concerns about the extent to which the sovereign wealth funds may be or have been involved in some of the banks activities. In a September 2015 piece, the Consortium Against Terrorist Finance (CATF) discussed the Sharia-compliant financial giants correspondents and posited that several QIBs correspondents have controversial histories of affiliation with or support of terrorist or extremist activities.[75]

Among the most concerning QIBs correspondents marked by CATF are:

  • Al Rajhi Bank, which became known to the public for the conspicuous financial support offered by some of its senior officers to al-Qaedas terrorist cause for decades;[75][76][77]
  • Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited (IBBL), with an extensive track record of engagements in terrorist finance;[75][78][79]
  • Jordan Islamic Bank and MashreqBank PSC, both on the 2013 prohibited investment list of the Illinois State Board of Investments.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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