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Emir of Qatar buys six Greek islands

05 March 2013 / 16:03:34  GRReporter
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Emir of Qatar Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani has bought the Island of Oxeia in the Ionian Sea together with five smaller islands, which belong to the Echinades group of islands. The total price of these properties is approximately 8.5 million euro. They were privately owned and the municipality of Ithaca in the Ionian Sea plays only an administrative role there. The area of Oxeia ​​is 4,200 km2, for which the Arab magnate paid 4.9 million euro. The other five smaller islands have a total area of ​​1,600 km2 and were sold for a total of 3.5 million euro. The area of Oxeia ​​is 4,200 km2, for which the Arab magnate paid 4.9 million euro. The other five smaller islands have a total area of ​​1,600 km2 and were sold for a total of 3.5 million euro.

Ithaca’s mayor Yiannis Kasianos told Mega TV that the Emir wanted to buy one island in the Ionian Sea for each of his 24 children. They are from three marriages and he has 11 sons and 13 daughters. This information has not been confirmed but Greek media report that Khalifa Al Thani has been visiting the Ionian Islands for years. According to Kasianos, the Emir has promised that if the transactions for the purchase of the islands were smooth, he would invest around seven million euro in the building of a network to supply affordable water from the Astakos bay to the island chain.

The news of the sale of the island chain has provoked mixed feelings in Greece. Some are stressing the return of investor interest whereas others perceive the deal as a sale of Greek land. The website for ecological news and development chose to spread the news with the ironic title "United Arab islands of the Ionian Sea." Ithaca’s mayor stresses that the sale of the islands does not involve the government and that the property was originally privately owned. Small island areas often are purchased primarily for investment purposes rather than for making them a personal oasis. Although a large part of the Echinades group of islands is under protection, some of the islands can be built.

Meanwhile, the government has announced that Athens will establish a Greek-Qatari investment fund. It will have an initial capital of one billion euro and its establishment was agreed during the last meeting of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in Qatar in January.

The Chief Executive Officer of Qatar Holding, Ahmad Al Saged will meet with Deputy Minister of Economy Notis Mitarakis, who is in charge of international investments. Both parties will consider a number of investment projects in tourism, energy, real estate and agriculture. Businessmen from Qatar are seriously interested in taking part in the privatisation programme of Greece. Qatar was a candidate for privatisation of the old Athens airport in the neighbourhood of Elinikos, but later withdrew under the excuse that there were too many bureaucratic obstacles for the transaction. Financial Times reports that the emirate is interested in buying the five-star public tourist complex near Astera Vouliagmenis. The same publication notes that Qatar is considering the possibility of buying the stake of National Bank of Greece in the Turkish Finansbank as well.

"The use of public property not only will bring revenue to the treasury, but it will also positively influence the investment climate in the country, which we greatly need," states economist Haralambos Gotsis.



Tags: EconomyMarketsQatarInvestmentEmirateGreece
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