To quickly recap, Imedi ran that stunt recently simulating a Russian attack on Georgia. The post was about who owned the station, which is a matter of some confusion.
Joseph Kay claimed to be the long lost nephew and executor of the original Georgian oligarch owner, Badri Patarkatsishvili.
Patarkatsishvili was the owner of the Imedi TV station which was stormed by special forces on 7 November 2007. On his death Kay announced that Patarkatsishvili, whom he claimed was a relative (the claim is disputed), had given him control of Imedi.
Kay last year then said - in a statement subsequently underlined by Mikheil Saakashvili's own office - that he had sold 90% of Imedi to the sovereign wealth fund of the Gulf emirate Rah Al-Khaimah.
The 90% ownership interest, Ras Al-Khaimah Invesment Authority (RAKIA), is (one of?) the (many) sovereign wealth fund(s) of the absolute monarchy of the United Arab Emirates.
Now that things have gone sort of pear-shaped after that teevee stunt, RAKIA claims to have nothing to do with Imedi.
But allegedly, through a series of unfortunate mishaps and poor spelling choices and barely plausible explanations, as though these guys can't afford laywers or something, RAKIA now claims they do not never have never did have anything to do with any of this no way. Nope. Never heard of it. It was RAAK, not RAK, and not RAKIA. Innocent mistake. Sorry we missed it, we're just really busy counting our money. ' Kay?
And now, I couldn't make this up if I tried, we learn that the head of ADIA (and RAKIA?) has gone missing when his glider crashed in a lake in Morocco.
The United Arab Emirates state news agency says the head of Abu Dhabi's sovereign wealth fund — the world's largest — is missing after his glider crashed in Morocco.
The official Emirates News Agency said that Ahmed bin Zayed Al Nahyan's glider went down in a lake in Morocco on Friday. The pilot of the aircraft was rescued in good condition, but authorities continued the search for Al Nahyan.
Al Nahyan is the managing director of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. He is also the younger brother of Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the leader of the United Arab Emirates. The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority could not be immediately reached for comment.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Zayed al Nahyan, managing director of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA)
Tina Hager/Arabian Eye (BusinessWeek)
Wow that's really really strange huh? He just disappeared in the lake?
One of these lakes?
And he had just restructured the board last week.
And his brother reportedly died in a helicopter crash in 2008.
I'll be honest and say I do not understand how all these funds are structured. Very very confusing. For an idea of how much money the UAE has to invest, start at #25 on this list. RAKIA seems to be a separate and much smaller fund than ADIA, but both are UAE funds.
25.Abu Dhabi Investment Council/ADIC - Abu Dhabi/UAE - 100% Government of Abu Dhabi - oil rich Emirate - Abu Dhabi the world's richest city - ADIC bought a 90% stake worth some $800 Million in the Chrysler Building, one of New York's most iconic skyscrapers
...25a)Abu Dhabi Investment Authority/ADIA - Abu Dhabi - with estimated $900 Billion ADIA is actually the world's largest SWF, providing Citigroup with $7,5 Billion /4,9% joining the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation's /GIC injection of $6,9 Billion - total provided $14,4 Billion, holds 8% stake in EFG Hermes/investment bank and 10% pre IPO stake in Apollo Management/ private US equity firm - ADIA filed an arbitration claim against Citigroup saying it was misled when it invested the $7,5 Billion in the bank two years ago, seeking rescission of the investment or damages in excess of $4 Billion - U.S.- bank considers claim entirely without merit, but apparently failed in its relation with this important investor
25b)Mubadala Development Co. - Abu Dhabi -$14,7 Billion - increasingly powerful state investment company -invested $1,4 Billion/7,5% into US private equity firm Carlyle Group/ triangular industry-government-defence (top defence tecnologies, energy supply and strategic information tecnology)
And way down the list... after 26(f):
27. RAK Investment Authority/Rakia - Ras al-Khaimah/ UAE - $1,2 Billion
It's almost like a little leftover pile of fun money.
In 2008, the ADIA made a big deal with Citigroup (links removed).
Our pain is their gain.
It was a whirlwind of negotiations for Citigroup and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA). For a week, dealmakers from both sides, some dressed in traditional white Arab robes and others in Western suits, worked furiously across the globe. Then, on the Monday after Thanksgiving they signed a deal, with the biggest bank in the U.S. agreeing to sell a 4.9% stake to the world's largest sovereign wealth fund in ADIA's new headquarters, the tallest skyscraper in Abu Dhabi. Citigroup (C) chairman Robert E. Rubin, on hand as Citigroup's top official, shook hands on the deal with Sheikh Ahmed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, ADIA's managing director and the 12th son of Abu Dhabi's late patriarch Sheikh Zayed, before dashing off to meet the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan. Forty eight hours later, the investment arm of the richest Gulf emirate, wired $7.5 billion to a Citigroup account.
The dollar looks sick, and U.S. stocks are getting pummeled. But those jitters are merely wetting the appetite of ADIA and other sovereign wealth funds for U.S. investments. These mega investors can afford to take a long term view. "The short term for us is three to five years forward," says Sheikh Ahmed in his dark mahogany paneled office, after a servant poured small cups of Bedouin style cardamom-flavored coffee. "We find (the American market) very attractive.
...Abu Dhabi wants to be among the world's most attractive destinations, and ADIA's Sheikh Ahmed is pushing the giant fund to be best in class as well. So ADIA is tapping the best financial brainpower. And with huge fees and potential capital stakes at stake, top Wall Street players are more than willing to oblige. In recent months, veteran investor Wilbur Ross, BlackRock (BLK) CEO Larry Fink, and Goldman Sachs (GS) CEO Lloyd C. Blankfein all have visited executives at the fund.When this article was written in 2008, money people considered ADIA extremely thorough and saavy investors. ADIA had already made many prominent investments, outmaneuvering Wall Street firms. ADIA created smaller investment vehicles for certain high risk projects.
I think that's where RAKIA fits in.
I can see how it makes sense to set up separate funds for risky investment that may or may not turn out to be good ideas. Like theoretically buying a teevee station and using it for blatant psyops against Russia.
Still it's hard to believe that this has anything to do with Sheikh al Nahyan disappearing, but still, what a coincidence.
UPDATE: A few more details about ADIA and how sovereign wealth funds work...
Back to October 2008, the Santiago Principles govern the way sovereign wealth funds are supposed to behave themselves as they gobble up assets of the industrialized world.
Given the massive size of some of these entities, many industrialized countries are justifiably concerned about how these can be used to achieve geopolitical objectives which may have little to do with investing in the sense SWFs were originally intended for--preserving and enhancing sovereign wealth.
Independence - us Westerners don't like you foreigners using SWFs to further your national objectives by buying our firms in the defense, transportation, energy, and natural resource sectors. Your financial interests in them may diminish our "national security," although we don't feel the need to define these considerations too specifically;
Transparency - insofar as us Westerners cannot really regulate the activities of your SWFs, we would at least appreciate it if you could tell us what they're investing in so we can take action if necessary (nevermind that we don't demand similar levels of transparency from our hedge funds);
Accountability - us Westerners know that you authoritarian regimes can pretty much use your SWFs to invest in whatever you please. Maybe you should be more "democratic" so that the populace can have greater discretion about where their sovereign wealth is invested in.
In April 2009, ADIA hired a senior investment banker from Rothschild, Alex Carré de Malberg as head of investment banking to lead its advisory business for Middle East and Africa.
"Opportunities are emerging when families and corporates reposition their portfolios. In times of crisis, you only keep parts of your business that fit your long term objectives, and you sell anything that is not synergistic."...Carré de Malberg, who worked for over a decade at independent family-owned investment bank Rothschild, said investors often need "a second, non-conflicted" opinion on cross-border situations in developed markets, alongside U.S. or European investment banks or lending banks...Carré de Malberg developed an intimate knowledge of the Middle East as he set up Rothschild's operations in the United Arab Emirates. ...M&A activity went relatively quiet in the last half of 2008 as the global economic crisis unfolded and credit dried up, but signs are emerging that companies, family offices and private equity firms are on the hunt for acquisitions as asset valuations have fallen...He has advised family offices, companies and private equity firms on M&A and leveraged buy-outs, helped governments with privatization programmes, worked on initial public offerings and arranged pre-IPO financing.In November 2009, playing the role of "trusted adviser" to Gordon Brown and others, the Rothschild family.
Baron Rothschild shares most people’s view that there is a new world order. In his opinion, banks will deleverage and there will be a new form of global governance. “But you have to be careful of caricatures: we don’t want to go from ultra liberalism to protectionism.”End of November 2009, Rothschild adviser comes on board to restructure Dubai's assets.
So how did the Rothschilds manage to emerge relatively unscathed from the financial meltdown? “You could say that we may have more insights than others, or you may look at the structure of our business,” he says. “As a family business, we want to limit risk. There is a natural pride in being a trusted adviser.”
It is that role as trusted adviser to both governments and companies that Rothschilds is hoping to build on in the region. “In today’s world we have a strong offering of debt and equity,” he says. “They are two arms of the same body looking for money.”
Paul Reynolds, head of Rothschild's advisory operations in the Middle East, was this week asked to work for the Dubai government's chief restructuring officer alongside Aidan Birkett of Deloitte, who was appointed on Wednesday. The team is tasked with assessing the group's assets, which is likely to result in a large scale sell-off of assets...The neighbouring emirate of Abu Dhabi is seen as one of the main buyers of Dubai's assets.About a week later, Dubai starts to fall apart.
"Dubai will struggle to tap the debt capital market in the near business cycle," Stephen de Stadler, managing director at Fitch Ratings in the Middle East told Zawya Dow Jones. "Now that the bond is rated junk, certain investors will be forced to sell." ...Deloitte's Aidan Birkett has been appointed to restructure Dubai World. Rothschild and Moelis & Co. are also advising on the restructuring.Two weeks ago, ADIA says as much as 45% invested in the developed world.
The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the worlds’ largest sovereign wealth funds, has invested as much as 45 percent of its assets in developed markets, the fund said in its first annual review....Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates and home to about 8 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves, is trying to diversify away from oil. ADIA and its Norwegian and Chinese peers are the three largest sovereign wealth funds in the world, managing over $1 trillion between them, Preqin Ltd said March 11. The emirate lent neighboring Dubai $20 billion last year to help it meet its debt obligations.
Thanks to James for the links.