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Tax Haven Series (Part 2): HBJ’s tax haven firm leads to QIA

Posted: September 25th, 2017

In our last post, explained that the billionaire Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani (known by his initials as “HBJ”), a member of the Qatari royalty, was discovered in the Panama Papers, a massive trove of 11.5 million leaked documents from a murky Panamanian law firm called Mossack Fonseca. The Panama Papers exposed over 140 politicians from more than 50 countries connected to offshore companies in 21 tax havens.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), the group that published the Panama Papers in 2016, has linked HBJ to eight corporate firms in three jurisdictions widely regarded as tax havens—namely the British Virgin Islands, the Bahamas and Panama.

One of these companies was Trick One Limited, through which HBJ held shares and mooring spaces in the Spanish port of Palma, Mallorca, and managed his super-yacht, the $300 million Al Mirqab (SOURCE).

Today will explain how Trick One Limited leads to the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the Qatari government’s sovereign wealth fund. During the time in question, HBJ was the CEO of the Qatar Investment Authority (from 2005 to 2013).

ICIJ data about Trick One Limited are outlined below.

Firm Jurisdiction Incorporated Dissolved Associated Address Principals
Trick One Ltd Bahamas 6-MAY-1998 31-DEC-2007 PO Box 4044 Doha Qatar Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani; ANZ One Ltd; ANZ Two Ltd; Yaheeb Holding Ltd; Pride Overseas Holdings Ltd; John Rea

A host of principals have been linked to Trick One Limited as shareholders but, per the ICIJ, the only director or beneficial owner ever associated with the firm was HBJ. The ICIJ outlines the succession of shareholders as they came and went after the firm’s incorporation in 1998 until its dissolution in 2007. The data are reflected in the table below.

Officer Role From To
Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani Director / beneficial owner - -
ANZ One Ltd Shareholder 18-MAY-1998 5-JUL-2002
ANZ Two Ltd Shareholder 18-MAY-1998 5-JUL-2002
Yaheeb Holding Ltd Shareholder 5-JUL-2002 10-APR-2003
John Rea Shareholder 5-JUL-2002 10-APR-2003
Pride Overseas Holdings Ltd Shareholder 10-APR-2003 Until Dissolution on 31-DEC-2007

ANZ One Limited and ANZ Two Limited are also believed to be linked to HBJ because they were the only shareholders ever associated with another firm called Anoud Al-Doha Limited where HBJ was the only beneficial owner for over a decade.

Pride Overseas Holdings Ltd is an anonymous company. Its true beneficiaries are not known. However, Yaheeb Holding Ltd and Mr. John Rea are the most intriguing shareholders. The two were the sole shareholders in Trick One Limited during the exact same period from July 2002 to April 2003. has identified Mr. John Rea as a proxy of HBJ. has also linked John Rea indirectly to the Qatar Investment Authority.

John Rea tied to Qatar Investment Authority

In ICIJ records associated with Trick One Limited, John Rea reports an address at 93 Park Lane in London. took this as an opportunity to supplement the ICIJ reporting. We found that John Rea leads to the Qatar Investment Authority.

Because John Rea reportedly lived in Britain, searched the name “John Rea” through the U.K. Companies Registry. We turned up many results including an entry for a British national born in April 1952 and linked to the address at PO Box 4044 Doha Qatar, the same mailing address cited by HBJ’s firms including Trick One Limited. Per the U.K. Companies Registry, John Rea was linked to at least five Qatari and HBJ firms in the United Kingdom. Data regarding the firms are outlined below.

Firm Jurisdiction Incorporated Dissolved Associated Address Principals
Havana Holdings (UK) Limited UK 19 February 1998 N/A 30 Portman Square, London, W1A 4ZX Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani (director); Fady Bakhos (director); Zaki Nasser Zaki El Guiziri (director); Michael Anthony Cairns (director); Karin Cooper (director); John Rea (director 28 April 1998 to 2 May 2013)
Primeairo Limited UK 26 November 1987 N/A 30 Portman Square, London, W1A 4ZX Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani (director); Fady Bakhos (director); Zaki Nasser Zaki El Guiziri (director); Michael Anthony Cairns (director); Karin Cooper (director); John Rea (director 5 May 1998 to 2 May 2013)
International Hoteliers (UK) Limited UK 11 February 1983 N/A 30 Portman Square, London, W1A 4ZX Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani (director); Fady Bakhos (director); Zaki Nasser Zaki El Guiziri (director); Michael Anthony Cairns (director); Karin Cooper (director); John Rea (director 24 November 1999 to 2 May 2013)
Precis (2374) Limited UK 10 July 2003 6 August 2011 PO Box 4044 Doha Qatar John Rea (secretary); Hussain Ali Al Abdulla (director)
Microsulis Limited UK 26 March 2003 N/A PO Box 4044 Doha Qatar John Rea (director)

Of note is Precis (2374) Limited. Precis (2374) Limited was a QIA investment entity incorporated on 10 July 2003. Shortly thereafter on 16 October 2003, the firm’s only principals were appointed: John Rea (secretary) and Dr. Hussain Ali Al Abdulla (sole director). The two men remained with the company until its dissolution on 6 August 2011.

According to Bloomberg and an SEC stock filing, Dr. Al Abdulla has served as a Qatari Minister of State since May 2013 and an Executive Board Member of the Qatar Investment Authority since approximately 2008, responsible for day-to-day management. Dr. Al Abdulla is also the vice chairman of QIA’s primary vehicle for direct investments, Qatar Holding LLC. In investment circles, he is known simply as “the Doctor,” and he is considered to be the founder of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, being the first to advocate for such an idea (SOURCE). A WikiLeaks cable reveals that Dr. Al Abdulla chaired the board of a Qatari bank called Masraf Al-Rayan, which worked with QIA to reap large profits.

John Rea left HBJ’s Trick One Limited on 10 April 2003 to then join Dr. Hussain Ali Al Abdulla, at QIA’s investment vehicle, Precis (2374) Limited, on 16 October 2003. John Rea and Dr. Al Abdulla remained with Precis (2374) Limited until its dissolution in 2011.

Dr. Al Abdulla would report to HBJ during the latter’s tenure as CEO of QIA from 2005 to 2013. Precis (2374) Limited was wholly owned by a corporate entity based in London but incorporated in the British Virgin Islands called Zoarah Limited. Precis (2374) and Zoarah were both ultimately controlled by the Qatar Investment Authority according to a 2005 Form AA filing of “full accounts”. Via a vehicle called The London Wall LP, Precis (2374) and Zoarah owned an unnamed investment property purchased for £157 million. The funds for the purchase came from the Qatar Investment Authority and a German Bank. has identified the property as 60 London Wall, a premier office building and the British headquarters of Dutch bank ING. The deal to acquire 60 London Wall was announced in 2003, before QIA formally existed. However, a precursor of QIA existed in a prototype phase since 2000 under the banner of Qatar’s Supreme Council for the investment of State Reserves.

Precis (2374) announced plans to sell the unnamed property in January 2006 for £204 million.

QIA website about our history capture

Our series on HBJ’s offshore assets continues in Part 3, with a look at a tax haven firm that leads to a £100 million fortune.