For at least 15 years now, Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority, has been quietly taking over huge swathes of European business. Billions of riyals have flowed from the Arabian desert state to countries from Britain to Greece.
But despite sometimes overt displays of wealth (it is buying London’s Canary Wharf banking district for $4 billion), little is known about the QIA and its direct investment arm, Qatar Holding.
Many in Germany and beyond would be surprised to learn of the extent of Qatar’s interests in Europe’s largest economy, which now range from washing machines to luxury cars and construction. So what exactly is the QIA, who runs it and just how far does its influence extend in Germany?
Established in 2005, the sovereign wealth fund was tasked with investing the revenues from the country’s oil and gas business in a solid manner — and for the long term.
According to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute, the QIA is worth $256 billion. Since December 2014, it is back in the hands of a member of the Qatari ruling family, Sheik Abdullah bin Mohamed bin Saud Al Thani, after the year-long tenure of Ahmad Al Sayed, a private citizen.