October 25, 2010 / 6:45 AM / 7 years ago

Qatar eyes Christie's auction house - FT

DOHA, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Qatar, the wealthy Gulf Arab state whose foreign assets include London property and investments in Volkswagen, may buy Christie’s auction house to bolster its cultural credentials, the Financial Times said on Monday.

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-percent in Volkswagen AG, bought famed London department store Harrods, acquired Singapore’s historic Raffles hotel as well as the landmark U.S. embassy building in London. (Writing by Amran Abocar; Editing by Will Waterman)

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