Qatar is listed as one of the largest parties involved in the rescue of the Greek economy from its debt crisis as it has big investments in the country. Greece is also a popular destination for Qataris for tourism and business opportunities.
According to a recent report in The Greek Reporter, the Prince of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, along with his Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor Al Thani, who are currently visiting Greece, are in talks to purchase one of the islands in the Ionian Sea.
According to the newspaper, the Prince of Qatar was accompanied by his closest colleagues, family, escorts and personal guard when he arrived on Monday in Corfu before boarding a luxurious yacht to travel to the island.
The newspaper added that the royal family is a frequent visitor to Greek islands and have recently shown greater interest in acquiring two islands off the Ionian Sea, one of which is Scorpios Island which was once owned by Greek billionaire Aristotle Onassis who bought it in 1963 from the Greek authorities. The other alleged island lies three miles south from the aforementioned.
Two years ago, the granddaughter of the well-known Greek shipping magnate, Athena Onassis, revealed plans to sell the family owned Scorpios Island, which once hosted the wedding of Onassis and Jacqueline Kennedy, widow of the late US President John F. Kennedy.
The 80-hectares island is estimated to be worth $200 million, according to British news reports.
The Qatari royal however may have another contender vying to buy it: Bill Gates.
The Microsoft founder visited the island in July 2009 reportedly with the intention of buying it. Then, Greek authorities were not willing to sell it as they viewed Onassis’ island as national heritage.
Theodoros Varikos, the mayor of the region where the island is located, said “Athena cannot sell the island because Onassis has specified in his will that it cannot be sold.”
(This story was translated from Arabic by Sarah Sfeir)