Bahrain's Purchase of Italian FC Inter Milan Raises Concerns about Social Insurance Organization Funds

2023-10-02 - 12:26 p

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): The Social Insurance Organization has been experiencing investment losses, with its profits appearing disproportionately small in comparison to its substantial assets, valued at 2.6 billion dinars in fixed and movable assets.

Recently, the Italian newspaper Tuttosport announced that Investcorp had made a substantial bid of €1.3 billion to purchase Inter Milan. This news has sparked legitimate worries about the Social Insurance Organization's financial resources.

An economist, quoted by the Delmon Post website, highlighted that joint investments between Investcorp and Osool, the investment arm of the Social Insurance Organization, as well as the Social Insurance Organization's significant stake in Cisco, amount to approximately 1.3 billion dinars in Investcorp Bank. Any potential loss in this deal would directly impact the investments of the Social Insurance Organization.

A Bahraini economist pointed out that while some Gulf countries invest in clubs and sovereign funds, their primary goal is not financial return. Instead, they view such investments as complementary to their other endeavors, like promoting their airlines or large projects (such as Qatar/UAE airlines, or a big investment such as the Neon project in Saudi Arabia). However, in Bahrain, questions arise about the purpose of investing in a football club and the anticipated indirect benefits.

Bahrain has previously experienced losses in investments, which drain the country's sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat, notably with the purchase of the struggling McLaren car company. These risky investments have been made unilaterally by the government and the ruling regime without adequate accountability.

It's worth noting that the audited annual financial statements of the Social Insurance Organization for the year 2022 revealed an investment loss of BD 91.6 million and a 21% decrease in the value of the Authority's total investments.

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