Qatar threatens potential withdrawal of investment from UK
“If there was ever any doubt that Gulf investors in Europe view their capital as ‘hush money’, this should make it clear,” says Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Doha and Due Process International regarding Qatar’s announcement that all current and future investment in the UK will be under review following a ban on tourism advertising on the London Underground.
Transport for London (TfL) recently rejected allowing ads promoting Qatar as a tourist destination that were to appear on the city’s trains, citing the Gulf State’s repressive anti-LGBT laws. “The TfL does not wish to promote tourism to countries that criminalise people’s sexuality or are otherwise oppressive and unsafe,” Stirling explained, “But Qatar believes that their money should not only silence Western criticism, it should compel our praise, and they should be allowed to advertise to the British public without restriction.
“We have been warning for years that Gulf investment in the UK and Europe is used as leverage by countries like the UAE and Qatar to commit human rights abuses with impunity; that they view their investments as strategic bribes to mute criticism and resist reforms. Now Qatar’s response to the advertising ban is to threaten the withdrawal of its $40 billion investments in the UK, and to potentially suspend future investments; meaning, they have tied their business deals in Britain to our political and moral acquiescence.”