Head of Dubai World threatens to take his money out of Europe
The boss of Dubai World, the powerful sovereign wealth fund, has issued a thinly veiled warning to critics of the $2.5trn (£1.25trn) sector, threatening to take his money elsewhere if the European Union tried to regulate his activities.
Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Dubai World's chairman, told the BBC's World at One programme yesterday that initiatives such as the proposed EU code of conduct for SWFs were "dangerous" for countries and companies in need of investment.
"If somebody comes with regulations that make it difficult for someone from certain geographical locations to invest in Europe or the West, people will take their investment somewhere else," he said. "I think it's dangerous when this money and liquidity is so badly needed – we are investors and we are free to go wherever we want. If you squeeze us, we will go elsewhere."
Mr bin Sulayem's comments follow calls from two European commissioners this week for better corporate governance standards and greater transparency from SWFs. Charlie McCreevy, the EU's internal market commissioner, and Joaquin Almunia, the EU's monetary affairs commissioner, said the funds did not make enough disclosures of key financial information and backed calls for a code of conduct for the sector.
The EU's concerns reflect similar anxieties voiced by a number of European and American politicians over the past 18 months, as SWFs have taken a greater number of large stakes in a range of different companies. Two years ago, Dubai World was forced to sell off the US ports owned by P&O when it bought the British company, amid American fears about key infrastructure coming under foreign ownership.
Yesterday, however, Mr bin Sulayem rejected calls for greater regulation of funds such as his, arguing that there had never been an example of an SWF buying up Western companies for political or strategic reasons, rather than on the basis of potential investment returns. "If you put a politician in charge of an investment, believe me, that investment fund will not last for a very long time," he said.
The Dubai World chairman's comments reflect growing anger among the leaders of SWFs at the attacks on their activities. At last month's World Econ-omic Forum in Davos, a string of SWF executives made similar warnings.
Bader al-Sa'ad, managing director of the Kuwait Investment Authority, said: "The KIA has been operating for 55 years and has never made a political decision – we look to the bottom line."
The EU's attempts to curb the power of SWFs are being led by the French and German governments, which have both been openly hostile towards the sector. The UK has offered limited support for calls for more transparency, though ministers have been at pains to make it clear they welcome SWF investment in British companies.
- 1 End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how Corporation is funded
- 2 Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face death penalty
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 4 Dakota Johnson's 'It's only Isis' Saturday Night Live sketch sparks controversy
- 5 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how Corporation is funded
Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face death penalty
PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
Dakota Johnson's 'It's only Isis' Saturday Night Live sketch sparks controversy
White and gold or blue and black – what colour is the dress? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'
iJobs Money & Business
£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Advisor is r...
£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...
£30000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established in 1999, a highly r...