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Qatari Investment Series: Qatar Elites Invest in French Luxury Real Estate


Posted: October 13th, 2017


Introduction

DE-Tenants.org has published extensively on the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and the royal Al Thani family of Qatar. Our research project has produced, among many other things, an asset list outlining 350+ corporate vehicles connected to the QIA wealth fund and the Al Thani royal family.

The list reveals, where possible, principals associated with the corporations, as well as useful background information about business purpose, assets and acquisitions, liabilities and loans, among other things. The asset list was assembled from primary corporate records from 44 countries around the world, as well as secondary sources such as news reporting, court documents, deeds, mortgages, credit agreements, business press releases, etc. The asset list is searchable on our website, with source documents.

Because of reader interest and because the asset list is so extensive, DE-Tenants.org will begin publishing an ongoing series of posts detailing the asset list’s most notable contents and highlighting interesting trends. This will help readers digest the massive trove and shed more light on the Qatari business interests. We begin today by highlighting the Qataris’ luxury French real estate disclosed in the asset list.


French Assets

DE-Tenants.org has so far identified 17 corporate assets based in France. These firms include a private bank called Al Khaliji (France) SA as well as a publically listed information technology company called Gfi Informatique SA. But equally noteworthy are the corporate vehicles that in turn hold substantial luxury real estate assets. Those real estate assets link to two Qatari Prime Ministers and their families.


The iconic Hotel Lambert located on the Île Saint-Louis in Paris
The iconic Hotel Lambert located on the Île Saint-Louis in Paris

SCI Hotel Lambert

SCI Hotel Lambert was incorporated in November 2007 by HE Sheikh Abdullah Bin Khalifa Bin Hamad Al Thani. Abdullah Bin Khalifa is the younger brother of the seventh Emir Hamad Bin Khalifa (reigned 1995-2013). Abdullah Bin Khalifa was also Minister for the Interior 1989-2001, Deputy Prime Minister 1995-1996, Prime Minister 1996-2007, and Special Adviser to the Emir since 2007. (SOURCE)

Abdullah Bin Khalifa is believed to have at least three wives, ten sons and nine daughters (SOURCE). Six of his sons were listed as the equal shareholders of SCI Hotel Lambert: Hamad, Suhaim, Fahad, Khalifa, Tamim, and Mohammad.

equal shareholders of SCI Hotel Lambert

Per corporate records, the company SCI Hotel Lambert exists to own the Hotel Lambert at 2 Rue Saint-Louis en Île, 75004 Paris, France. The iconic Hotel Lambert is a UNESCO World Heritage-listed building located on the Île Saint-Louis in Paris and formerly home to Voltaire and Chopin. Following a fire in 2013, the hotel is undergoing advanced renovations as of 2017. The project involves EUR 45 million in financing from HSBC France, due for repayment in September 2020.

The EUR 45 million was borrowed by Abdullah Bin Khalifa’s six sons, SCI Hotel Lambert’s six shareholders. Most noteworthy his the eldest son, Hamad Bin Abdullah.

The EUR 45 million was borrowed by Abdullah Bin Khalifa’s six sons, SCI Hotel Lambert’s six shareholders. Most noteworthy is his eldest son, Hamad Bin Abdullah.

Hamad Bin Abdullah is the first cousin to the current Emir Tamim as well as the chief executive of QIPCO Holding (SOURCE). QIPCO is a prominent Qatari shareholding company reputed to be “the ruling [Al Thani] family’s investment vehicle” and specializing in financial and real estate markets. QIPCO is the largest shareholder of publically listed Mannai Corporation QPSC of Qatar. Hamad Bin Abdullah is known for his appearances at lavish parties, his collection of priceless jewelry, and allegedly a controversy with the Queen of England.

Hamad Bin Abdullah Bin Khalifa Bin Hamad Al Thani—first cousin to the current Emir, son of the former Prime Minister, and chief executive of QIPCO Holding
Hamad Bin Abdullah Bin Khalifa Bin Hamad Al Thani—first cousin to the current Emir, son of the former Prime Minister, and chief executive of QIPCO Holding

SCI Umm Qarn

Much like SCI Hotel Lambert, the French company SCI Umm Qarn was incorporated by the former Qatari Prime Minister HE Sheikh Abdullah Bin Khalifa Bin Hamad Al Thani. SCI Umm Qarn was incorporated in August 1996. At an unknown time in 1996, Abdullah Bin Khalifa was elevated from Deputy Prime Minister (1995-1996) to Prime Minister (1996-2007).

Per corporate records, SCI Umm Qarn exists to own property at 9 Rue Yves Cariou, 92430 Marnes-la-Coquette, France, in the western suburbs of Paris. The property was undergoing development as of August 2016, per Google Street View. The luxury residential project under development is called Villa Eugénie (see HERE and HERE and HERE).

The original shareholders of SCI Umm Qarn were identified as follows:

  • HE Sheikh Abdullah Bin Khalifa Bin Hamad Al Thani (55%)
  • Amina Bint Mohammed Bint Hamad Al Thani (7.5%)
  • Hamad Bin Abdullah Bin Khalifa Bin Hamad Al Thani (7.5%)
  • Suhaim Bin Abdullah Bin Khalifa Bin Hamad Al Thani (7.5%)
  • Fahad Bin Abdullah Bin Khalifa Bin Hamad Al Thani (7.5%)
  • Khalifa Bin Abdullah Bin Khalifa Bin Hamad Al Thani (7.5%)
  • Jawaher Bint Abdullah Bint Khalifa Bin Hamad Al Thani (7.5%)

Amina Bint Mohammed Bint Hamad Al Thani is identified as Abdullah's wife in the corporate records, and the other principals are identified as their children—all male except Jawaher.

However, subsequently in July 2007, Amin stepped down as a shareholder and Abdullah Bin Khalifa decreased his stake in the firm to make way for two more sons: Tamim and Mohammed.

Then in 2013, the patriarch Abdullah Bin Khalifa resigned from his position as Guarantor of the company. It is unclear if he similarly renounced his shareholding position.

Abdullah Bin Khalifa resigned from his position as Guarantor of the company

Development of Villa Eugénie began at least in 2015, per internet searches and historical records of Google Street View.

SCI Umm Qarn bears a similar name to Abdullah Bin Khalifa’s UK-based equine breeding firm Umm Qarn Management Co Limited, dissolved in February 2017. There is no indication that the French SCI Umm Qarn is involved with horse breeding, but Abdullah Bin Khalifa’s horse breeding operation extends to France through Haras du Grand Courgeon, advertised on the Umm Qarn website. Abdullah Bin Khalifa’s son Fahad, a shareholder in SCI Umm Qarn and a director of QIPCO Holding, is deeply involved in equine breeding, paying record-breaking amounts to acquire horses.

Fahad Bin Abdullah Bin Khalifa Bin Hamad Al Thani—director of QIPCO Holding, shareholder of SCI Umm Qarn, and equine enthusiast
Fahad Bin Abdullah Bin Khalifa Bin Hamad Al Thani—director of QIPCO Holding, shareholder of SCI Umm Qarn, and equine enthusiast

SCI Julia

Per corporate records, SCI Julia exists to own the property called Villa Julia at 47 Chemin des Collines, 06400 Cannes, France. Cannes is a luxury resort town on the French Riviera, famed for its international film festival and exclusive to global elites. Despite its modest street-facing gate, the Villa Julia is perched on a hillside with a vista view of the Mediterranean Sea. The property includes a tiered garden and a swimming pool.

Front Gate of Villa Julia at 47 Chemin des Collines, 06400 Cannes, France

SCI Julia was incorporated in November 2004 by then-Prime Minister Abdullah Bin Khalifa Bin Hamad Al Thani. The company’s reported address was 9 Rue Yves Cariou, the same address of SCI Umm Qarn.

Abdullah Bin Khalifa held 99% of SCI Julia upon incorporation while Amina Bint Mohammed Bint Hamad Al Thani, identified in the documentation as his wife, held 1%. Amina also appeared in records associated with SCI Umm Qarn above.

Another woman’s name occurs in the SCI Julia filing: Amine Bint Khalifa Bint Hamad Al Thani. But Amine Bint Khalifa Bint Hamad Al Thani and Amina Bint Mohammed Bint Hamad Al Thani may be the same person, as their names are used interchangeably in the French corporate filing. Abdullah Bin Khalifa is believed to have a wife called Amina bint Suhaim bint Hamad Al Thani according to the website Royal Ark.

Abdullah Bin Khalifa borrowed EUR 3.5 million from Qatar National Bank to acquire the Villa Julia property.


SCI Oryx

SCI Oryx was incorporated in December 1997 by Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani (known by his initials “HBJ”, and later to serve as Prime Minister from 2007 to 2013) and his son Jassim. SCI Oryx exists to own the property at 4 Place de la Porte de Passy, 75016 Paris-16E-Arrondissement, France. The property serves as the office of South Korea's permanent delegation to the OECD (see HERE and HERE).

HBJ is a staple object of our reporting here at DE-Tenants.

Image from bottom of page, http://oecd.mofa.go.kr/english/eu/oecd/korea/adoutus/index.jsp
Photo of HBJ

SCI Oryx Immobliere

Incorporated in November 2006, SCI Oryx Immobiliere exists to own the historic Hôtel d'Auvergne at 49/51 Rue de l'Université, 75007 Paris, France. Hôtel d'Auvergne is a block from the Musée d'Orsay and the River Seine. It is a short walk from the Palais Bourbon, seat of the French National Assembly.

Corporate records identify Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani (“HBJ”) and Noor bint Abdulaziz Abdulla T. Al Subaie as the principals. Per the documents, Noor is HBJ’s wife and the two reside at Al Wajba Palace in Doha, Qatar. HBJ is a staple object of our reporting here at DE-Tenants.

Corporate records identify Noor bint Abdulaziz Abdulla T. Al Subaie

The married couple are joined by two of their regular proxies: the Lebanese-French lawyer Fady Bakhos (described as HBJ’s “HBJ's right-hand man”) and the Briton John Rea (linked to the Qatar Investment Authority, see previous coverage HERE), as well as a man named Brian Merley.

The Lebanese-French lawyer Fady Bakhos, described as HBJ’s “HBJ's right-hand man”
The Lebanese-French lawyer Fady Bakhos, described as HBJ’s “HBJ's right-hand man”




DE-Tenants.org is running a series of posts on the assets of the Qatari elite. Check back regularly.