Brunei money behind new Lotus shareholder

Money from the USA, Abu Dhabi and Brunei is behind Infinity Racing Partners, the consortium which has acquired 35% of the Lotus F1 team.

Lotus has not named Brunei, saying merely that Infinity was comprised of “an American hedge fund manager, an Abu Dhabi-based multinational business group and royal family interests of a major oil producing nation.

A little research reveals that the three companies in the consortium are Crescent Investment Management (New Jersey), Al Manhal International Group (Abu Dhabi), and Universal Sports Group (Brunei), with their shareholding split 20-20-60.

The individuals behind the project are Mansoor Ijaz, the boss of Crescent, and Suhail Al Dhaheri, CEO of Al Manhal.

Aged 51, Ijaz is of Pakistani origin but was born in Florida and studied in Virginia. In addition to his own investments he is well known as a journalist and media commentator on political and business affairs, and has been seen frequently on Fox News programmes.

Al Dhaheri, 52, is a former pilot. The Al Manhal company website describes itself as “a multi-faceted group with diverse interests including Investment, Structure financing, Project Management, Event Managements, Telecommunications and Renewable Energy, Digital Hospital, Motor Sports, Oil & Gas, Refinery Projects, Construction and Real Estate.”

Not much is known at this stage about the Brunei connection, although the country formerly had close links to Ferrari, when the team carried Asprey’s branding in the early Schumacher days.

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