Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani had bought the six privately owned islets in the Echinades group for $11m.
The emir of Qatar is planning to build a palace on at least one of the six Greek islands he recently bought and is interested in buying the 12 neighbouring isles in the Ionian Sea, according to British newspaper The Guardian.
It was revealed in early March that Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani had bought the six privately owned islets in the Echinades group for what was considered to be a bargain price of €8.5m ($11m).
Architects already are working on plans to create a luxury palace on at least one of the islands, ruling out any ideas of creating a tourist resort, The Guardian has quoted Ioannis Kassianos, Mayor or nearby Ithaca island, as saying.
However, Al Thani is already facing a potential legal battle because Greek law does not allow a residence to be larger than 250 square metres, no matter how big the land is.
“The emir has reacted to this saying his [toilet] is 250 sq m and his kitchen alone has to be 1000sqm, because otherwise how is he going to feed all his guests?” Kassianos told the newspaper.
Al Thani is also believed to be interested in obtaining all of the 18 islands that make up the Echinades, despite it taking 18 months for the paperwork for his most recent purchase to go through.
Qatar is one of the largest investors in debt-laden Greece, the poorest country in the Eurozone, and the emir’s idyllic purchase was the biggest private investment in the country.
Kassianos said Qatar also was looking to bring water to the islands for the first time, with a study to lay a pipeline from the mainland already under way.
Qatar also has announced plans to invest up to €1bn ($1.34bn) in small and medium-sized Greek companies.
Economic relations between Qatar and Greece also registered an important development this year with the conclusion of several agreements including the establishment of a US$2.6bn joint fund.