By Andy Sambidge
Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani reportedly strikes cut-price deal for idyllic isles in Ionian sea
The Emir of Qatar has reportedly struck a cut-price deal to buy six Greek islands.
According to media reports, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani has paid €8.5m ($11m) on six idyllic isles in the Ionian sea.
After his purchase of the uninhabited Ionian islet of Oxia, 1,236 acres in size and near to the island of Ithaca, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani has agreed to buy another five privately owned neighbouring islets in the Echinades group, in the Ionian Sea.
The islands, known as the Echinades, caught the royal's eye when he moored his yacht in the turquoise waters off Ithaca four years ago, reports said.
The purchase comes just weeks after it was announced that Qatar plans to invest up to €1bn ($1.34bn) in small and medium-sized Greek companies.
Qatar and Greece's economic relations also registered an important development this year with the conclusion of several agreements including the establishment of a $2.6bn joint fund.
The reports added that the Emir had negotiated a bargain price for the islands as debt-stricken Greece tries to balance its books.
The sell-off of Greece's crown jewels is likely to attract offers from other Arab, Russian and Chinese businessmen.
Although officials are not saying which of the 6,000 islands around the Ionian or Aegean seas could be sold, the country's privatisation agency has identified about 50.
Nice islands to take cover in when rainy days come - I would not have publicised this acquisition.