PUNTA DEL ESTE.- Without its characteristic tunic, Tamim bin Hamad al Thani it could have gone unnoticed among the thousands of tourists who came to the East. The emir of Qatar, however, captured all eyes with his arrival at the Uruguayan spa, where he arrived last weekend to receive 2023 and lead private meetings.
From the hand of the former tennis player who became an entrepreneur Gaston Gaudio, the emir arrived in a climate of absolute secrecy. “One of the values that our government gives is privacy in Uruguay,” said an official from the leadership of Luis Lacalle Pou’s government, when asked by the Qatari leader.
Tamim’s arrival occurred along with the appearance of two mega vessels in the port of Punta del Este, which drew the attention of locals and tourists. It’s all about the boats alpha Y aquariustwo ships that -together- have a valuation of more than 300 million dollars.
as far as he could tell THE NATION, the emir of Qatar uses one of the boats for his private use, while the other is for his officials and security team. All the movements of the leader are surgical and are kept in strict security operations.
Yesterday, Tamim bin Hamad al Thani was seen having lunch at the iconic Parador La Huella, by José Ignacio. There he arrived together with Gaudio, his Argentine friend. It is expected that in the coming days the emir will continue his visit to Latin America with a trip to Brazil.
Billions of people around the world saw the image of Tamim in the last World Cup final in Qatar. The emir was the one who put the black cape (“bisht”) on Lionel Messi and then presented him with the president of FIFA, Gianni Infantino, the world cup.
But how did Tamim come to be one of the richest men in the world? A little over half a century ago, the Al Thani family lived in a two-story house near the sea, when the coast was only sand, boats and a few prospectors who still survived the pearl crisis.
First it was oil and gas closer in time, which catapulted this small emirate to dispute power with its more powerful neighbors, such as Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq.
In Tamim bin Hamad, but also in his predecessor, his father, Hamad bin Khalifa, it is explained why they invested more than 200 billion dollars in recent years and the World Cup was just a step to insert himself on the international board.
In 1995, Hamad bin Khalifa deposed in a non-violent blow His father, until then the one who ruled the destinies of the family and the country, kept a low profile and a policy of non-intervention, something that the Saudis liked. but soon after everything changed in this peninsulafifteen times smaller than Uruguay, the country where he spent the new year.
Qatar’s breakthrough came in the mid-1990s, when it partnered with American and Japanese companies to become the world’s largest exporter of liquefied gas (LNG) and thus exploit the reserves they had discovered in the sea. The dollars started flowing in by the billions and then the Al Thani devised an ambitious expansion plan.
At the end of the last century, some of the symbols of the new country emerged, such as the chain Al Jazeerathe airline Qatar Airways, and the foundations were laid for the Qatar Investment Authority, the sovereign wealth fund that expands its arms throughout Europe, Asia and the United States.
Managed by the royal family, it has shares on the London Stock Exchange, in the automakers Volkswagen and Porsche, acquired iconic brands such as Harrods stores, Tiffany jewelry stores, the Hollywood Miramax studio, and participates in companies such as British Airways, Barclays banks and Credit Suisse, among many others around the planet. It is estimated that in the United Kingdom alone, where the current emir and a large part of the royal family were formed, more than 50 billion dollars have been invested.
It was with football that the Al Thani further expanded their horizons. In 2005, Tamim founded Qatar Sport Investiments. One of his first coups was the purchase of a club in crisis, in which he spent close to a billion dollars and where he currently plays Leo Messi: Paris Saint-Germain. He also invested in Barcelona and dreams of taking his country to the Olympic Games.
Without a doubt, the transformative fact was to obtain, in 2010, the organization of the last World Cup that Argentina won. It was a process marked by little transparency, with strong accusations of corruption, that of taking the World Cup to the desert, in a single city and where it was necessary to change until the start date.
Despite fighting with federations from countries like the United States, Australia or Japan, Tamim kept going. Nothing stopped him from fulfilling the Qatar National Vision 2030 plan, where the new country is aiming.
Tamim maintains a good relationship with former President Mauricio Macri, whom he visited in Buenos Aires in 2018. There They signed agreements related to the suppression of diplomatic visas and three memorandums on education, sports and production and employment. During the last World Cup, he had different meetings with the former Argentine president.
After Argentina qualified for the World Cup final, Macri received an invitation from the powerful Qatari royal family. Yassim is the older brother of the emir and was the chairman of the Supreme Committeethe entity that organized the world cup.
The prince of qatar organized a mini tournament in which the former Argentine president and several soccer legends participated. they played Gabriel Batistutathe Brazilian Ronaldo and the Dutch Patrick Kluivert Y Ronald de Boer, among others.
The fluid relationship between Macri and the royal family was created through the figure of the former Roland Garros champion Gaston Gaudio, who participated in various businesses associated with Qatar. Before the National Team match against Poland, he facilitated the first meeting between Macri and Tamin on Qatari soil during the World Cup.
Gaudio has his own relationship with Macri and with the Boca world as well. The airline Qatar Airways, which was founded in the 1990s by the Qatari royal family and today is one of the largest companies in the world, signed an agreement with the Argentine club in 2018 to be the main sponsor of the shirt for 7 million dollars annually. Gaudio’s influence was decisive for the signing of that contract that was signed during the management of Macri’s judicial assembly, Daniel Angelici.
After sharing an intense month in the Middle East, which was crowned with the world title for Messi’s National Team, Gaudio and Tamin met again this New Year under the eastern sun.
Although Tamim seeks to appear in the eyes of the West as a moderate leader, He is also known for his opulent life. His family owns the most expensive residence in the United Kingdom, for which he paid US$150 million in central London; and they estimate that they own more properties than the British royal family in the capital of that country.
The emir, 42, he has three wives. However, to show himself as a Westernized leader, he usually makes state visits with the first of them, Jawaher Bint Hamad. On the recent visit to Spain, both dressed without their traditional Arab costumes and were received with true honors: Tamin announced that he would increase energy investments by up to US$4.7 billion. The Qatari royal family also enjoys spend the summer in the warm waters of the Spanish Mediterranean. He usually shows himself without prejudice in Mallorca, with a large entourage, luxury cars and a private jet. There they usually take their luxurious yacht, one of the most expensive in the world, valued at more than 200 million dollars.
Also on this trip to the eastern beaches, the emir showed himself in shorts and a blue sweater, far removed from his traditional clothing that he wore during the world cup in Doha.