ROYAL families of Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar own more than £1 billion ($1.2 billion) of UK real estate via offshore tax havens like Jersey and the British Virgin Islands, the Guardian newspaper reported.
Nearly 200 properties, including hotels, London mansions and country estates, belong to the Middle Eastern dynasties, the newspaper said. It cited an analysis it conducted of a new government register that shows who is behind offshore companies that own UK property.
Among the holders of the properties is Sheikh Mansour, the owner of Manchester City football club and the deputy prime minister of the UAE. Members of the ruling Al Saud family of Saudi Arabia and Qatar’s al-Thani family also own the real estate.
Sheikh Mansour’s wife, Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed al-Maktoum, owns an estate in Surrey worth £150 million, the most expensive of the properties listed in the Land Registry documents, the newspaper said. Sheikh Mansour, who is the deputy prime minister of the UAE, owns 17 other land titles via a Jersey entity, including a London apartment and land connected with urban developments in Manchester.
The Saudi royal family holds many properties via offshore entities, including the 1818-built Holme, a lakeside manor in the middle of London’s Regent’s Park. It is owned by a Guernsey-based firm, whose beneficial owners include Abdullah bin Khalid Al Saud, the kingdom’s permanent representative at the United Nations. It was reported to have been for sale for £185 million in 2020.
The Registry of Overseas Entities came into force in August, according to the UK government’s website. Under the new system, individuals have until Jan. 31 to declare they are the beneficial owners of offshore companies that own property in Britain, according to the report. –BLOOMBERG