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'UAE Wealth Funds'
The sovereign wealth funds - United Arab Emirates

The sovereign wealth funds accumulated by oil-rich Arab sheikdoms is reported as much as $4.5 trillion to $7 trillion today. The exact amount is impossible to ascertain due to lack of their transparency and accountability.

Abu Dhabi is the largest and wealthiest of the seven emirates in the UAE. It owns 10 per cent of the world's proven oil and gas reserves. The emirate owns 95 per cent of the oil and gas reserves of the UAE. The country is presently earning record oil revenues rolling in at a rate of $225-million (U.S.) a day.

Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, the world's largest government controlled investment pool, is estimated to have assets worth over $1000 billion (U.S.). The emirate is controlled by Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, son of late dictatorial ruler of United Arab Emirates 'Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan". ... More (UAE Facts)


AB 1967 would have prevented California's retirement systems from contributing to regimes with terrible human rights records by making new investments or renewing investments with private equity firms such as the Carlyle Group, which is partly owned by a sovereign wealth fund affiliated with the UAE.

There is growing concern among elected officials and the public about sovereign wealth funds (i.e. government investment vehicles), in particular about these funds' frequent lack of transparency and about the advisability of foreign governments having ownership stakes in defense companies and critical infrastructure such as roads, bridges and airports. There is also concern that sovereign wealth funds may be more likely to invest in order to achieve political rather than profit-maximizing goals, increasing the risk of financial instability. In addition to the heightened risks these investments face, it is unconscionable for California to invest the retirement funds of its public workers for the benefit of egregious human rights violators. Many sovereign wealth funds are affiliated with and earn profits for governing regimes with human rights records that are among the worst in the world.

Three of the largest sovereign wealth funds, which together control more than $500 billion in assets, are affiliated with the United Arab Emirates, an emirate whose government, according to the State Department, has "severely restricted workers' rights" The State Department has also cited evidence of "significant additional human rights problems" in the United Arab Emirates, including arbitrary and incommunicado detention, human trafficking, legal and societal discrimination against women, and government-imposed restrictions on civil liberties, among others.

Public retirement systems in California currently invest with the Carlyle Group, a Washington D.C. based private equity firm. In 2007, the Carlyle Group sold a 7.5% stake in its management and operations to the Mubadala Development Company, an arm of Abu Dhabi, one of the seven countries that comprise the UAE. In addition to the $1.35 billion investment, the Abu Dhabi fund agreed to invest a further $500 million into Carlyle's buyout funds. AB 1967 would prevent California's retirement systems from undermining human rights by making new investments or renewing investments with private equity firms such as the Carlyle Group, which is partly owned by a sovereign wealth fund affiliated with the UAE.

SEIU is 1.9 million members united to improve services not only in our communities throughout North America but also with our counterparts around the world to help ensure that workers, not just corporations and CEOs, benefit from today's global economy.


UAE. Human rights campaigners have called on the Scottish parliament to prevent Dubai from investing in one of Scotland's most prestigious golf courses because of alleged "abuses of its migrant workforce".

The UAE government-owned Dubai World is negotiating to buy part of Turnberry in Ayrshire, which is due to host next year's Open Championship. There is also speculation it wants to take over the Gleneagles and Loch Lomond resorts in a US$800 million deal.

But the author of a damning report into the welfare of Dubai workers from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, China and the Philippines claimed that Scottish ministers have a moral obligation to force the Emirates to address the abuses before any deal is concluded.

Human Rights Watch concluded that many of the 700,000 poorly paid foreigners lured to the region by loans from employment agents to pay for their passage have to repay them at exorbitant interest rates. They sometimes live 20 to a room in labour camps and many have their passports held in bond by their employers.

The report said that migrants have no access to trade unions or collective bargaining to improve wages and conditions and are banned from one year from working in the region if they go on strike.

The UAE is preparing legislation related to regulation of trade unions and permitting organised collective bargaining.

The local Labour MP Sandra Osborne is to write to the UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband, Trade Secretary John Hutton and the UK ambassador for the region on the issue.

Human Rights Watch said that not a single employer has been investigated by the government or threatened with fines over failure to pay wages.

A spokeswoman for Leisure Corp, responsible for Dubai World's golf portfolio, said: "We and all our contractors abide by the rules in place in this market, which ensure that workers' living and working conditions are at acceptable levels."

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