By Margot Gibbs
A Tory peer has apologised for failing to disclose properties he owned in Dubai.
Lord Sheikh’s apology to the House of Lords’ Conduct and Registrar came after Finance Uncovered found the property details in a leaked private database of real estate information in the Emirate.
Lord Sheikh, who has had a long relationship with the Emirate and travels there often, owned and rented out a total of three apartments in the Dubai Marina, one of which was co-owned with his wife, Lady Sheikh.
Annual rents for apartments in the Dubai Marina range from £10,000 to around £35,000 a year.
Under parliamentary rules, peers have to disclose ownership of all properties from which they earn more than £5,000 per year.
Following inquiries from Finance Uncovered, Lord Sheikh stated that the properties, which were bought in 2004 off-plan and completed in 2007, were sold in 2012-13.
The House of Lords has confirmed that Lord Sheikh wrote to the Lords’ Conduct and Registrar apologising for the oversight.
He said he had not previously declared them because he thought overseas properties were not covered by the rules.
There is no suggestion he was deliberately trying to mislead the Parliamentary authorities and in fact in March 2014 he referred to them in a speech in the Lords.
“I frequently visit UAE frequently because I own properties in Dubai,” he said then.
He has since reiterated to Finance Uncovered that he sold his properties in 2012 and 2013, and that he did not own any Dubai property in 2014.
He said: “I would like to emphasise that all the relevant taxes had been paid to HMRC in full.”
In 2009 Lord Sheikh, 77, presented the keynote speech at the World Takaful Conference in Dubai. The World Takaful Conference is sponsored by the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC), is a Dubai financial regulator.
It is currently led by Maktoum bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Deputy ruler of Dubai.
Lord Sheikh was the vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the United Arab Emirates in 2016, after the properties were sold.
He was made a life peer in 2006 and has had a highly successful career in insurance.
* Editing by Ted Jeory and Nick Mathiason