Spending Spree Puts Abu Dhabi Under Spotlight

After US grabs, officials focus on secretive sovereign wealth fund
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 28, 2008 3:23 PM CST
Two workers walk at the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2008. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – When Abu Dhabi's investment arm poured $7.5 billion into Citigroup, to bail out America's biggest bank, the move didn't escape notice in Washington. The world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund has been flexing its muscle, making increasingly aggressive investments  in foreign interests, the New York Times reports. And though there’s nothing to suggest it has any goals beyond making money, the secretive fund is raising some concerns.

With 9% of the world’s oil and only 0.02% of its population, Abu Dhabi is estimated to have around $700 billion to invest. While the Arab emirate's investments are still passive—they don't seek board seats— some fear the potential for them to be leveraged for political aims. “In the short run, that they are investing here is good,” one senator says, “but in the long run it is unsustainable.”