Qatar’s former prime minister is one of the wealthy Middle Eastern investors exposed to Credit Suisse Group AG’s troubled supply-chain finance funds, according to people familiar with the matter.
Vehicles linked to Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani invested approximately $200 million in the funds that bought loans from Greensill Capital, the financial firm that collapsed in early March, said the people, asking not to be named because they are not authorized to speak on the matter.
It’s unclear how much Sheikh Hamad, also the former head of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, stands to lose, and the preliminary estimates of his exposure could change. Representatives for Credit Suisse and Sheikh Hamad declined to comment.
The bank is in a tough spot as it’s seeking to retain the relationship with wealthy clients while leaning toward letting investors foot the bill if it can’t recover the full amount of the loans held in the Greensill-linked funds. Out of $10 billion managed by the funds, Credit Suisse had sold more than $1 billion through its private banking arm in the Middle East, Bloomberg reported earlier.
The Swiss lender has been deeply involved with Qatari investors for years and has a long-standing relationship with Sheikh Hamad. During his tenure as head of the Qatar Investment Authority, which ended in 2013, the sovereign wealth fund became one of the Swiss bank’s largest shareholders and appointed Credit Suisse as adviser on some high-profile deals.
In 2012, they formed an asset management joint venture, called Aventicum Capital Management. Sheikh Hamad also owns a stake in Deutsche Bank AG.
Last month, Credit Suisse froze its Greensill funds and started liquidating the investments as Lex Greensill’s firm filed for insolvency. The supply-chain finance funds hold more than $1 billion of notes linked to Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance, a metals group at risk of collapse, and hundreds of million of notes to other companies backed by sales that hadn’t occurred yet.
The bank is planning to transfer hard-to-value assets into side pockets while returning some cash to investors. It paid $3.1 billion in March and said it will make a further payment by mid-April.
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