Published on Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Amir condoles over the passing away of Sheikh Ahmad bin Zayed Al-Nahyan
- Agencies
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His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, accompanied by a delegation which had Deputy head of the National Guard Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah within it, met Wednesday UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and members of the UAE’s leadership council, expressing his condolences over the passing away of Sheikh Ahmad bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. Sheikh Ahmed bin Zayed al-Nahayan, manager of a sovereign wealth fund worth hundreds of billions of dollars and a brother of the Emirati president, was buried on Wednesday in his native Abu Dhabi, five days after his ultralight plane crashed in Morocco. Muslim prayers were first said over the sheikh’s national flag-draped body at Sheikh Zayed Mosque where his father, United Arab Emirates founder Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahayan, is buried. After the brief ceremony, attended by the president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan and other dignitaries, Sheikh Ahmed’s body was taken away in an ambulance for burial at a nearby cemetery. The body of the sheikh, who was in his early 40s, was only recovered on Tuesday in Morocco, after a four-day search following the crash into a lake.

Dozens of divers from various countries, including Morocco, France, Spain, the UAE and the United States took part in the rescue effort, complicated by heavy rain that left water levels high and swamped surrounding areas. The pilot, a Spanish national, was hospitalised but survived Friday’s ultralight aircraft crash into the artificial lake, near Rabat and close to where Sheikh Ahmed had a home. Sheikh Ahmed was managing director of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), considered the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund with assets estimated at more than 600 billion dollars (445 billion euros). Through the ADIA, Sheikh Ahmed was in charge of managing a large chunk of the wealth of the emirate of Abu Dhabi, which sits on some 95 percent of the oil wealth of the UAE — a total of 97.8 billion barrels of oil.

Forbes ranked Sheikh Ahmed as the 27th most powerful personality in the world last year. It described him as the “elusive” director of the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund. He was known for avoiding the limelight and rarely gave media interviews. Sheikh Ahmed was a younger brother of the Emirati president, who is also the ruler of Abu Dhabi, although he was not in the immediate line of succession for the throne of the southern Gulf emirate. He was born in 1969 in Al-Ain in Abu Dhabi emirate, the official WAM news agency said. He graduated from United Arab Emirates University and joined ADIA in 1994, before being appointed its manager three years later. Sheikh Ahmed is survived by a toddler son, Zayed.
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