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Pandora Papers: Qatar emir, former prime minister tied to offshore accounts

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani is linked to tax havens across the world obscuring real estate purchases worth hundreds of million of dollars
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, emir of Qatar, addresses the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly on 21 September 2021 at the UN headquarters in New York City (AFP)

The emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and former prime minister and billionaire Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani have been named in newly leaked financial documents revealing their ownership of offshore accounts worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

According to the Pandora Papers, shared over the weekend by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), Tamim bin Hamad was tied to at least two companies registered in the British Virgin Islands investing in real estate in the United Kingdom.

Using what the ICIJ described as an “elaborate offshore structure”, the sheikh’s mother, Moza bint Nasser bought three properties in 2013, which were among the most expensive in London, amounting to $187m.

Meanwhile, the Pandora Papers revealed that Hamad bin Jassim, who previously served as Doha’s prime minister, foreign minister and the head of the Qatar Investment Authority, has used offshore companies in tax havens such as the British Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, Panama and the Cayman Islands.

The leaked documents revealed that bin Jassim, whose net worth is estimated to stand at $1.3bn, used a complex chain of subsidiary companies and trusts in order to make investments and shield his family wealth from taxation.

Among his properties acquired through offshore companies are bin Jassim’s $300m super-yacht, as was revealed by the 2016 Panama Papers leak.

The ICIJ said both the Qatari government and bin Jassim had declined to respond to repeated requests for comment.

Qatar, which is set to host the World Cup in 2022, has previously been accused of bribing officials from the International Federation of Association Football (Fifa) to obtain hosting rights.

With 11.9 million files made public, the Pandora Papers are the latest in a series of mass leaks in recent years revealing the questionable financial dealings of countless world leaders and business tycoons.