x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Qatar eyes Christie's auction house

Qatar says it may buy Christie's auction house to bolster its cultural credentials.

Emirati women look at
Emirati women look at "Witness from Baghdad" piece by Iraqi Halim al-Karim exhibited by Christie's in Dubai.

DOHA // Qatar may buy Christie's auction house to bolster its cultural credentials, the Financial Times said today.

Qatar's ruler, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, told the newspaper that buying the auction house would fit in with plans to make the tiny state, the world's largest liquefied natural gas exporter, a cultural destination.

"We are building a museum, and it (Christie's) has links with the stuff we are collecting for our museum," he was quoted as saying. "It depends on the opportunity – if we had a good opportunity we would not hesitate."

Christie's is owned by French billionaire Francois Pinault.

In the past year alone, Qatar, through its sovereign wealth fund, has taken a 10 per cent in Volkswagen AG, bought famed London department store Harrods, acquired Singapore's historic Raffles hotel as well as the landmark US embassy building in London.