Qatar's royal family bags some bargain Greek islands
The emir's purchase also signals stronger financial ties between the oil-rich Gulf state and Europe's most-bankrupt country.
Looking for your own island paradise, at fire-sale prices? You might want to check out Greece.
Qatar's royal family is doing just that. It's buying six Greek islands in the Ionian Sea for a mere $11 million (€8.5million) to create a private family resort. The deal is one of the largest private investments ever in Greece, whose ongoing debt crisis has made it the European Union's most bankrupt country.
And the emir of Qatar apparently knows how to drive a hard bargain. The first of the islands for sale, uninhabited Oxia, was originally offered at $9.13 million (€7 million) before its owner agreed to $6.93 million (€4.9 million).
"The islands have been in my family for over 150 years but we are not rich enough to be able to keep such valuable properties any longer," Denis Grivas told The Guardian. He cited the sky-high property taxes he's been paying since the start of the Greek debt crisis and deep recession: "We are very, very happy to see them go. They have been on the market for nearly 40 years."
Greece's government is apparently happy to have attracted investment from oil-rich Qatar. The Financial Times reports the sale of Oxia came four weeks after Greek Premier Antonis Samaras flew to Qatar to rebuild financial ties with the wealthy Gulf state.
"Our country offers important investment opportunities," Samaras recently told SETimes.com. "We experienced a dramatic crisis but it has made us wiser, more decisive and stronger."
And along with supplying personal playgrounds for Qatari royalty, analysts see the stronger economic ties as an economic lifeline for Greece. According to The Economist, Qatar is also looking to develop a large coastal site in Athens and possibly having the Greek capital as the European hub for its national airline, Qatar Airways.
"Qatar has invested a lot of funds in Italy, France and now they see Greece as an opportunity to invest [because of the recession] and prices are low in various sectors," John Nomikos, who heads the Athens-based Research Institute in European and American Studies, told SETimes.
"The Qataris know the capitalist model very well and they also know that Greece will recover from recession in the future," he added, "so their investment is going to offer them profits."
Don't think, however, the emir's representatives had an easy time with the actual purchase of the Greek islands. The deal took about 18 months to finalize.
"Greece is that kind of place," Ioannis Kassianos, the Greek-American mayor of Ithaca, told the Guardian. Ithaca has administrative responsibility for Oxia. "Even when you buy an island, even if you are the emir of Qatar, it takes a year and a half for all the paperwork to go through."
If your country spends money without restraint, sooner or larter the bill will become due. Yes, every thing the government provides has a cost. If you don't want to sale our parks, our public lands, our wildlife preserves, quit asking the government to pay for items we should be responsible for. If you want free Health Care, then say good bye to the Grand Canyon. If you want extended unemployment, say goodbye to Yellowstone. Can't complain if you vote for people that spend your money with no regard to the cost.
The oil industry has made Quatar's royal family billionaires many times over, with business and real estate investments around the world. They literally have money coming in faster than anyone could even shovel it into a vault, let alone spend it. With their vast wealth their very astute purchase of these 6 Greek isles for only $11 million is like the average person going out and buying a hamburger and fries. Obviously the seller was very motivated due to high maintainence and tax contraints, but it still must have hurt to have to part with this island paradise at such a bargain price. Perhaps the new owners will invest some much-needed capital improvements into these islands and in the process create jobs for some of Greece's many unemployed people.
Peace to all ~
This is already happening in the US. Get ready for fire sales to start happening all across the US for Government Property that tax payers are having to pay for the upkeep. Of course it won't matter because our taxes will not go down.
Seriously, the world in some generations will be owned by the 1% and the rest of the 99% will be like a herd of sheep....until one sheep steps up and leads the flock to freedom and ownership of the Earth, that we are ALL born to live on.
Really pathetic,,"The Royals" taking advantage of the same messes their class start to protect their interests with the blood and money of the people...this story makes me sick
I can't imagine anyone else buying it. The Greek government already taxes it heavily each year, and that amount is only likely to increase. You couldn't justify building a resort business there, because you could be taxed out of existence in short order. Only some royals who need a place to flee to, when their neighboring countries decide to loot them, would be interested in such a property.
I'm waiting for Calif beach property to reach realistic levels...
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