The Richest Men: Buying London

The United Arab Emirates might be a relatively new country in comparison to the United Kingdom, but they have played their cards well in establishing lasting and promising relations with the European country. Business liaisons between both nations have been strengthened significantly over the past, with embassies from both countries making sure there are enough reasons to offer investment in their countries. London’s central location in the European continent is an attractive asset of the city for rich businessmen from the Emirates. No wonder that London is actually referred to as ‘the eighth Emirate’ - it is a playground for Emirati expats to thrive in while purchasing real estate, business and more. In fact, some say that the Emirati rich boys are buying up London.

One of the richest men on the planet, occupying 746th place on Forbes’ richest men ranking, is Mohammed Mahdi Al-Tajir. The Emirati-born, UK-based businessman is worth £1.67 billion, and spends a major part of his time living at his London home, although he also spends a significant amount of time in Scotland, where he owns another home. His company owns Hyde Park’s Sheraton Park Tower Hotel, amongst many other buildings and businesses (such as Highland Spring Water) throughout the UK.

Al-Tajir’s relation with London goes back to the 1970s, when UAE was founded in ‘71, he was appointed Ambassador to the United Kingdom. It is fair to say he is one of the most prestigious and recognised businessmen from the Emirates in London, and respected at it, as well. The self-made billionaire is an example of how foreign investment in the United Kingdom can help expats thrive in the country. With so much wealth pouring from the Emirates - Dubai and Abu Dhabi being the highest-bidding ones -, London thrives on their partnership with magnates and tycoons from the area.

Thanks to the strong bilateral relationship both nations nurture through their embassies, UAE business continue to grow in the UK. “Imports from the UAE into the UK were valued at over £1 billion in 2009”, according to the UAE Embassy in London. Likewise, the UK’s “14th largest market for exports worldwide” is the United Arab Emirates. With the ongoing healthy relationship these two nations enjoy, expat life for both countries’ nationals in each other’s territories will continue to be important, interesting and fruitful.