Posted: June 19th, 2017
Members of Qatar’s ruling family “Al-Thani” have had interests in more than 20 offshore companies, according to data released as part of the “Panama Papers” by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). The extended Al-Thani family has also long controlled Qatar’s $335 billion sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority, which was characterized in a March 2013 Guardian article as the Qatari “emir’s personal investment vehicle in a country where personal and state wealth are blurred.”
DE-Tenants.org has previously charted out these Al-Thani corporate interests in offshore tax havens located in the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and Panama. Digging further into these enterprises, we have begun identifying primary underlying documents for certain Al-Thani offshore firms. Below are initial details from our findings.
Abdul Aziz Althani Holdings, Inc.
According to ICIJ data, Abdul Aziz Althani Holdings (AAAH) was registered in the Bahamas in July 1998 by a Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bin Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani, who was the firm’s shareholder until September 2001. Afterward, the entity’s shares were held by a series of “Nominee” shareholders until in January 2010 a Sheikh Abdul Bin Jassim AlThani took ownership of the firm. ICIJ records show that Mr. Bin Jassim AlThani has an address at PO Box 8695; Doha; Qatar.
New York City real estate records shed further light into AAAH’s function. A search in the Office of the City Register reveals that in July 2005 AAAH acquired an apartment unit — 4B — at 502 Park Avenue for $6.1 million. A recent article posted for WNYC in New York offered additional details on the Qatari-linked property purchase.
At the time of purchase, AAAH took out a $3,050,000 mortgage from Credit Suisse First Boston Financial Corporation, indicating that the Al Thani firm initially paid $3.05 million in cash for the property. The company paid off the mortgage in its entirety in May 2010.
The 2005 deed offered no details on the identity of AAAH’s backers. The filing only noted that AAAH had an address at P.O. Box 36, 1st Floor, 37 Broad Street, St. Helier Jersey, JE49NU Channel Islands. Tax bills, however, trace back to Qatar. Beginning in February 2011, the mailing address for the tax bill for AAAH was listed at P.O. Box 8659, Doha, Qatar — the exact P.O. Box cited for Sheikh Abdul Bin Jassim AlThani in the ICIJ database for AAAH.
Registered in the BVI in January 2014 — but also “linked” to Luxembourg — Afrodille S.A. is, according to data from the Panama Papers, owned by HH Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Bin Hamad al Thani — the former Emir of Qatar and father to the current Emir. The address cited for the former Emir in the ICIJ database is Al Wajba Palace; Doha; Qatar.
A shares certificate, available for download below, affirms the former Emir’s ownership — as of January 2014 — in the offshore entity.
Al Faisalia Trade Company S.A.
A firm registered in Panama — although “linked” to Switzerland — according to ICIJ data, Al Faisalia Trade Company initiated in April 2009 and then defaulted in July 2012. Information from the ICIJ’s Panama Papers identified Sheikh Faisal Jassim Al Thani as a principal, along with a Huseyin Basaran.
DE-Tenants.org acquired the primary incorporation documents for the offshore firm from Panama’s “Registro Público.” The filing affirms the ICIJ data, and discloses that Basaran has an address in Istanbul, Turkey.
Knibos Consulting S.A. & Notart Consulting S.A.
The ICIJ’s online database discloses that Sheikh Hamad Jassim J.M. Al-Thani held “Power of attorney” for both Knibos and Notart at the time of the data disclosure. Reporting by Forbes revealed that the Sheikh Hamad of these companies was none other than Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani (HBJ) — Qatar’s Prime Minister from 2007 to 2013 and also head of the Qatar Investment Authority from 2005 to 2013 ( source).
The primary corporate filings from Panama, however, make no reference to HBJ. The identical slate of officers for both firms is listed below.
Rienne S.A. & Yalis S.A.
Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani (HBJ) is affiliated with Rienne S.A. and Yalis S.A., per Panama Papers disclosures. And so is the former Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Bin Hamad al Thani, based on reporting by the U.K.’s Independent paper.
Both companies were incorporated in Panama in 2011, but similar to the two previously mentioned entities — Knibos Consulting and Notart Consulting — neither HBJ nor the former Qatari Emir appear in Panama primary documents. Instead, for Rienne there is the name slate of officers as for Knibos and Notart, starting with “President” Rey Taylor. A subsequent filing submitted by Yalis in 2013 disclosed the following officers:
But additional primary documents reveal that the Qatari royals are the underlying shareholders of these entities.
Minutes from a July 2013 shareholders meeting for Yalis reveal that while Lizet Moreno and Paulo Ruiz — both officers connected to Al Thani firms in Panama — are the chairperson and secretary, respectively, of the meeting, the two shareholders are former Qatar Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Bin Hamad al Thani (misspelled in the document as “Sheikh Hamad Bibhalifa Binhamad Al-Thani”), as 75 percent owner, and Sheikh Hamad Jassim J.M. Al-Thani (HBJ, the fomer Prime Minister and head of QIA), as 25 percent shareholder.
Similarly, a shareholding certificate for Rienne S.A. shows HBJ owning a 25 percent stake in the firm.
- Rienne S.A. incorporation, 2011
- Yalis S.A. filing, 2013
- Yalis S.A. board meeting, 2013
- Rienne S.A. certificate, 2013